Sunday, July 16, 2006
As Roger Clemens stepped to the Fenway mound for the first time in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform, a hearty sampling of boos cut through the applause and filled the old ballpark with tension. On the streets outside, vendors had sold souvenir WANTED posters charging Clemens with treason, and TV crews had tracked his every step through his former stomping grounds. The game meant nothing in the American League East standings but everything in the town where the Rocket had always stirred the fans' emotions like no other ballplayer of his era.
After a contentious public showdown with hard-line Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette, Clemens had bolted Boston as a free agent at the end of the '96 season and signed a staggering four-year, $31.1 million deal with the rival Blue Jays. Convinced that Duquette had driven him out of Boston, Clemens attacked his 14th big league season like a desperate rookie, showing up at spring training in superb condition and winning his first 11 decisions of the regular season. He would go on to win 21 games and his fourth Cy Young Award, but not before making a dramatic campaign stop in his old district.
The Red Sox hitters never had a chance. Clemens may have left Boston for the money, but he came back for blood. He set a Toronto record with 16 strikeouts in eight innings, snuffing out the boos along with the overmatched Boston hitters. Before turning the game over to the Blue Jays' shaky bullpen, he struck out the side on 10 pitches in the eighth"
Red Sox Nation Speaks
It just goes to show you that while the players and ownership may change, it will always be open season on Red Sox stars once the writing is on the wall and they are on their way out of town. To the majority of fans, who live paycheck to paycheck, the fault will always lie with the greedy player. A minority of fans will be reflective enough to remember that the owners of the Boston Red Sox are captaining the direction of one of the top 3 most valuable, and profitable, franchises in MLB from their respective yachts and Caribbean getaways, so the money issue should be considered, at best, wash. In the Golden Age of free agency, it is rich guy agenda and rich guy agenda vs. richer guy agenda: Player and player agent versus owner(One could also throw in the players association as a 4th independent force, although I choose to let it live under the player's tent). The reality is that once these situations are allowed to come to a head, i.e. the player's contract is in its final season on the open market, professional agendas (by now tainted with a personal mix), of all 3 parties take on a life of their own, and it is usually too late to repair things both personal and professional. We all love to keep things simple and take sides, but the reality is that all 3 parties usually shoulder a portion of the blame. It is up to you to make a strong argument as to who gets the biggest piece of the blame pie. I'll take the other side and leave us at a stalemate.
-RED SOX NATION