Roger, Please Go Away

The Roger Clemens story just won’t go away.  In 2003, he announced that he was retiring.  When he started Game 4 of the 2003 World Series, he pitched seven innings, giving up three earned runs, none after the first inning.  After striking out Florida Marlin second baseman Luis Castillo in front of flashbulbs and an adoring visiting crowd, “the Rocket” doffed his cap and walked off the mound.  Even the Marlins players applauded both his effort and his career.

But Roger fooled us on that October night.  He decided that he wasn’t going to retire after all.  He came back in 2004, and 2005 and 2006, then left the game again.  In 2007, Clemens decided to see if teams were interested, but there was a catch.  If they were, they had to pony up $17-$18 for a partial season’s work.  The Yankees were drawn in and there was Clemens up in George Steinbrenner’s booth telling the Yankee Stadium crowd that he would indeed pitch again in 2007.  Even Yankee broadcaster Suzyn Waldman lost her objectivity and professionalism by screaming that “goodness gracious,” Roger was back.

After a 6-6 season and a ragged start in the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians, Clemens still won’t retire.  In December, the Mitchell report on substance abuse linked Clemens to a host of perfomance enhancers that helped him defy his age and continue to dominate on the mound.

There is only one person who really knows if Roger Clemens used HGH, steroids or other perfomance enhancing substances, and that man is Roger Clemens.  Frankly, that is not a real concern to me.  The real concern is seeing Clemens spin and spin and spin some more.  He never accused former trainer Brian McNamee of lying in that dreadful phone conversation.  McNamee asked Clemens several times, “what do you want me to do?’ and Clemens never once said “tell the truth.”

I just want Roger Clemens to go away.  He’s 45 years old, he’s had a fine career, his day in the sun.  Stop giving statements through your lawyers to the press.  Stop showing up at Astros minicamps and pitching to minor leaguers. and please make retirement official and go away from the game—for good.  You don’t need the game anymore, and the game, at this point, doesn’t need you either.

Go find Barry Bonds and play catch with him.

Johnny Furgele


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