May 08, 2007

Good Day To Be A Mets Fan

When I heard about the Roger Clemens deal with the Yankees, I was immediately not surprised, primarily because it’s the Yankees and they usually get what they want. They and their fans are like the children of a messy divorce- one parent doesn’t get to see their child all that much and for that reason, the kid gets what ever they want.

But on second look at the Clemens deal, it occurred to me that the Yankees were the mice to Clemens “Pied Piper” and were overly impressed by his NL Central pitching performance, perhaps for the Yankees what may prove to be a false oasis in a desert of their own making.

Here are my thoughts on this situation…

The Yankees see themselves as “baseball” and that no other team is in their class (again, this is how they view themselves). They see themselves as having the richest history of any sports franchise since the dawn of man and the invention of the wheel. They have countless players in the Hall Of Fame, had the greatest player in baseball history, and so on and so forth. They have the strictest rules and guidelines of any baseball team, and they carry themselves with what they deem is a professional manner. That’s what the sports' world sees, and how they wish themselves portrayed.

What I see is a homeless man begging for change on a street corner. They went to Clemens and basically got on their knees to plead with him to come back to the Yankees, at their most desperate of hours, about to be evicted from their penthouse atop the AL East.

Last season, they wouldn't hear any of the demands that Clemens and his agents, the Hendricks brothers, made. One demand in particular stood out - that he wouldn’t have to be present at the ballpark on the days that he didn’t pitch. Not a chance, the Yankees said. So why the one-eighty? Why all of a sudden are the Yankees so submissive to him now? Why give him the richest major league contract (for a season) in history?

Easy answers - the Yankees are afraid of losing, and big George wants to see one more championship before he leaves this earth. Their organization feels like Clemens is their new messiah...or the coffee of the month...or any over-used analogy that you'd care to use...

THIS Mets fan is now going to step in and point out why he doesn't agree and why, at the end of the season, I’m going to be laughing, to the point of pain, at the Yankees (and, mind you, this will be just one more mistake in a season filled with them, from signing the wrong Japanese pitcher to adding a certain cancerous ex-Met, washed-up first baseman).

In his three years with the Astros, Clemens had an average ERA of 2.38. That’s good, right? In the NL Central it is. But lets see what his average for his five years with the Yankees is - 4.02! That’s not just a slight difference - that’s the difference between a CY Young and a middle of the rotation starter. Besides, his last year in NY (and the AL) was 2003 and he’s older and has lost some pepper off his velocity.

Let’s go to another point- Roger Clemens is by no means a big game pitcher, period. Let’s take the averages of all of his Divisional Series, League Championship Series and World Series ERA’s and see how good a playoff pitcher (or "money pitcher") he really is:

Division Series: 4.76 ERA
League Championship Series: 5.03 ERA
World Series: 3.85 ERA

...NOT exactly worthy of the mega contract he was given, especially when it comes to getting that Pennant clinched...

My final point concerns his innings pitched. I’ll only take into account his last three seasons to equate for his age. This should work in his favor, as it is the NL Central.

2004: 214.1 innings pitched, divided by, 33 games started = 6.48 innings per start (not bad)
2005: 211.1 innings pitched, divided by, 32 games started = 6.59 innings per start (again, not too bad)
2006: 113.1 innings pitched, divided by, 19 games started = 5.95 innings per start (that’s bad)

Combine these numbers, from innings pitched per start to his ERA’s, and they don’t equate into an ace nor certainly not one deserving of that kind of contract. He's a Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, over the course of his long career...but he's NOT the stopper he once was, will only prove effective in a limited role, and isn't the answer on a pitching staff that can't get from the sixth inning to Mariano Rivera (himself not up to par) in the ninth...

Simply put, Clemens struck Gold and so did Mets fans - for Yankee fans, not so much...

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