Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone
"Why do they have to be miserable?"--Roger Clemens, referring to Sox fans screaming at him outside Fenway Park during the 1999 ALCS
Marooned in my house yesterday with the flu, I was content at first to kind of stare blankly at my various Red Sox DVDs, including Cowboy Up!, which I must have been pretty out of it to be able to watch without clawing my own eyes out.
Anyways, after watching Grady fuck up in 5.1 Dolby Stereo (I probably could've used slow motion, too), I flipped halfheartedly through Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Coffee Break, etc., finally landing on NESN, where they were showing the thrilling PawSox contest.
Suddenly, I needed baseball. Not the freakin' PawSox, or pre-recorded games that I already knew would end in disaster but real, live baseball.
This is what was scary: it didn't even have to be Red Sox baseball.
Oh, shit. Am I becoming one of those people?
I flipped to ESPN, where the 9-0 Rocket was facing Mark Prior in the Monday Night Baseball game. Sweet.
It's a funny thing: Roger was second only to Hitler (and according to his mother, treated the same way) just eight or so months ago. I truly wished Roger would just kind of shrivel up and disappear every time he took the mound against us, or throw out his shoulder, or spontaneously combust. I wouldn't say I wished harm upon him, per se, but I wished he'd just kind of...go away.
Since he wouldn't, we had to content ourselves with yelling "Roooo-gerrrrrrrrrrr" over and over again, which pretty much shows how without a comeback we were for the way he pitched.
Throughout Roger's tenure with the Yankees, there was a sense that it must be--without the motivation to show up Boston, or to prove the "twilight of his career" comments wrong, or whatever, Roger would probably never have become Roger. But it was still a little bit of sand in the shorts to know Roger was turning the arm he'd first developed with us on his former team, with devastating results.
But now that he's wearing a different set of pinstripes, things are different for me. Suddenly Roger and his stubbly snarl are more fascinating than annoying; more compelling in a Greek-epic kind of way than in the star-crossed-drama sense. It helps you appreciate one of the greatest pitchers ever, I guess, when he's no longer your mortal enemy.
Mark Prior was nothing to sneeze at, either.
So it was a good game. It was a bit of a mindfuck to see Todd Walker come up with some big hits for the Cubs, too. And along the way, something weird happened: as I watched him get his team's only base hit of the fourth inning, watched him set up hitter after hitter, watched him struggle, putting men on base, I was actually rooting for Roger to continue his win streak.