At The Ballyard ... with Steve Weissman

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Comings and Goings as June Busts Out

How Can I Miss You if You Won't Leave? To no one’s real surprise, Roger Clemens yesterday announced he will return to the major leagues later this summer, and will do so in the uniform of his hometown Houston Astros. There are lots of reasons for him to return to the club with which he went to the World Series last year (many outlined in my post of February 9), but the clincher no doubt is the opportunity for him to start his game-conditioning in A ball with his son Koby, who is currently playing at that level in the Astros system. Nick Cafardo’s account in today’s Boston Globe therefore rings true: according to his piece, “one league source even said one of the teams in the Clemens chase tried to deal for Koby … in an attempt to entice Roger Clemens.” Does this strike anyone else as being disturbingly similar to threatening a bear cub in order to flush the papa bear from the woods?

Don’t Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out. Though I tried hard not to, when Barry Bonds hit is 715th home run the other day, I couldn’t help thinking about just how fraudulent his power numbers may or may not be. I know his career was on a Hall of Fame trajectory before 1999, which was the first year, if the recent book Game of Shadows is to be believed, that he played under the influence of performance-enhancing drugs. At that point, Bonds had hit 411 homers and had averaged 31.6 for each of the 13 seasons he had then played. At that pace, he would have had 632 coming into this year, instead of the 708 actually credited to his name. Does this mean 10% of his dingers are fraudulent? If so, he’d now have 638 instead of 715, and would be celebrated not only as one of the greatest sluggers of our time, but an absolute poster child for clean living and high sportsmanship. How’s that for an alternate reality?

Hello, Goodbye. I thought David Pauley did a creditable job for the Red Sox last night. Plucked from Double-A to make the fill-in start, he wasn’t altogether sharp, but he didn’t lose his cool and managed to get important outs when he needed to. You can cite the excellent defense and run support he received as keys to the victory, and you’d be correct. But we’ve seen too many mid-season callups simply fall to pieces when things go awry not to credit Pauley for his composure and his ability to eat through almost half the game at a time the club really needed both. So thanks for coming, David, and good luck in Portland the rest of the way – we’ll let a lefty (Abe Alvarez? Jon Lester?) take it to the Yankees next week.

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