Kevin Devaney of The Journal News is down in Tampa to watch Roger Clemens pitch tonight. He just e-mailed me these observations:
â€” It’s 85 degrees and sunny. Everyone is in shortsleeves. I forgot, what is the weather in New York?
â€” Clemens was working out at the minor-league complex while the rest of the Tampa Yankees were taking BP. As I write this, they’re showing Clemens’ Yankeeography on the scoreboard screen.
â€” When they were finished BP, I went in the clubhouse and spoke with a few players. There was a definite sense of tension. Nobody admitted it, though. But you can definitely tell they’re going to be a little nervous.
â€” Francisco Cervelli will catch Clemens. I spoke with Cervelli, who was probably the most calm of all. He said he’s caught Igawa, Wang, Pavano and Jaret Wright in the past. Last night, Cervelli called home to Venezuela to tell his family that he was catching Clemens.
“My mother didnâ€™t know his name,â€? Cervelli said. “But I told her that Iâ€™m going to be catching a big name in baseball.”
Cervelli hadn’t spoke to Clemens at that point (5:30) but was anxious to. He wanted to see what he wanted to throw. I assured him that Clemens knows what he’s doing.
â€” After I left the clubhouse, I walked into the hallway and nearly walked right into a gray Hummer parked literally right outside the door. It belonged to Clemens. We walked another 50 yards through the tunnel and saw a black Lincoln Town Car. The assumption is that it belonged to Steinbrenner.
â€” Another funny tidbit was from pitcher Guillermo Villalona. He went up to a clubhouse attendant around 5 p.m. and asked where the ticket sheet was. He was stunned when he was told the game was already sold out. “I only need two,” Villalona pleaded.
â€” There’s less than an hour until first pitch and there’s only about 1,000 people in the stands. Apparently, everyone decided they’d drive up right before game time, park outside the stadium and watch Clemens. The traffic jams beyond the outfield wall are incredible. I can guarantee that a portion of the people with tickets will be caught in so much traffic, they won’t see Clemens throw a single pitch.