We weren’t there when Babe Ruth called his shot. Lou Gehrig’s speech wasn’t televised across the country. But we all saw what happened today live and in living color and it was part of baseball history.
One of the greatest pitchers ever, if not the greatest, stood in front of a huge crowd and made a stunning announcement that he was returning to the game.
Yeah, it’s all about money. But sometimes it’s all about the chill down your spine, too.
Here’s a closer look at a day to remember:
Quote of the day: “This is a huge statement. Donâ€™t count us out.” – Brian Cashman.
Mystery of the day: What did George Steinbrenner tell Clemens on March 7 in Tampa? Whatever it was, it made an impact. “He had some words for me which Iâ€™ll keep with me forever. I might share those when this season is all said and done. Iâ€™ll keep those close to my heart,” Clemens said. Is Steinbrenner retiring? Selling? Sick?
No coincidence: Guess what $28 million is? That’s $1 million more than the previous high salary in the game. Clemens will end up with roughly $18.5 million but the symbolism is undeniable. Clemens has always picked salary numbers that have some significance. This is a guy, remember, who was paid $22,000,022 last season.
Sidekick again: Does anybody else feel for Andy Pettitte? Every time he signs with a team as the wise, veteran presence on the pitching staff, the big boy barges in a few months later.
He did what? Word is the Red Sox were stunned by this. Randy Hendricks was at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Boston lost Clemens on Sunday. They never saw this coming. “It would have been nice to have him, but we didn’t need him,” 38pitches.com said. “I feel like we were a legitimate World Series contender without him.”
Don’t cross the Godfather: Joe Torre has been an easy target these days. But the list of managers who could handle this situation and get a veteran roster to allow one player to have special perks is short indeed. And other than Derek Jeter, the Yankee who recruited Clemens the hardest was Torre. Toss the manager out at your peril. He may not handle the bullpen like a master, but he’s pretty good at handling a platoon of Hall of Fame players. Which is more important with the Yankees?
Forget the record: Anybody who tells you Clemens was “only” 7-6 last season should know that the Rocket allowed more than two earned runs in only three of 19 starts. Give him Yankees run support instead of Astros run support and he will pile up the W’s.