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Didja ever notice: Roger, the Dodger

I'm sure I won't be the first and I likely won't be the last to tell you that Roger Clemens is pitching today...on 6/6/06...how appropriate!

It came to my attention that Thursday marks 25 years to the day that the Mets selected that particular righthander, out of Spring Woods High, with the 288th overall pick in the 12th round of MLB's Amateur Draft. I do not begrudge him for choosing not to sign. He told the New York Times in 1986 that Mets manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Bob Gibson had watched him pitch in 1981 and neither came oaway particularly impressed. That apparently was a turn-off and enough reason to walk-off.

However, there are plenty of reasons to dislike Roger Clemens and I could easily list 100 why, but I'll simply choose to discuss one. There is strong reason to believe that the man is a vandal.

I harken back to October 25, 1986, the sixth game of the World Series, which I do every so often in this space, and a particular camera shot not long after Dave Henderson's home run gave the Red Sox the leadin the top of the 10th inning. It is of the Red Sox bullpen, where a few young men are clapping and exchanging high-fives. One of them is Roger Clemens. The other is Al Nipper. Alongside them, on one of the nearby walls, are huge blotches of red spray paint. In rather large letters are the initials "RC" and "AN."

I presume that Clemens was rather proud of himself at that particular moment, both for his pitching performance and his artistry. I'm guessing that Clemens would likely deny that he committed this particular act, for which others would likely have been arrested and prosecuted. He'll claim he had a blister on his finger, that which forced him to depart this game, and thus couldn't operate a spray can. I'm willing to hire the necessary handwriting experts to determine whether the work came from Clemens or Nipper. Either way, "Roger the Dodger" is guilty of some significant misdeed because it's very apparent that he either did it, or knows who did. I'm surprised no one filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Mets to reimburse the team for the damage done.

The statute of limitations may have run out, but it's good to see that the punishment for Clemens was long-lasting. Just desserts came not only in the form of the manner in which this contest concluded, but in the following numbers. 0-3, 5.47. That's Clemens' record and ERA at Shea Stadium since that particular date.

And you know what's kind of neat? The last two times that Clemens has paid a visit to Shea, he's been given a little reminder of his inappropriate actions. In 2002, if memory serves, Shawn Estes' home run off Clemens landed not far from the scene of the crime. And on April 13, 2005, Clemens pitched rather well, but had to watch the Mets celebrate after winning in walk-off fashion after Jose Reyes' game-winning single.

True Metmens know... Roger Clemens has a 5.09 career ERA against the Mets in regular-season play. That's his worst ERA against any team he's faced.

Comments

Stormy said…
I always noticed the graffiti, but never put two & two together. (Yes, I'm an idiot.) Now I'm even more happy that Straw took his time rounding the bases in Game 7 after taking Nipper deep.

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