Reflecting on the Rocket

This was good reading this morning: For those of you ready to push the panic button on May 6, ESPN.com Page 2′s Bill Byast has a reality check ready for you.

It occurs to me that 366 days have now passed since Roger Clemens stood up in George Steinbrenner’s owners box at Yankee Stadium, waved to the crowd and, over deafening cheers that far exceeded anything that happened in the game, told the fans that “it’s a privilege to be back, and I’ll be talking to y’all soon.”

It’s a pretty amazing coincidence that Darrell Rasner just happened to start another Sunday game against the Mariners at the Stadium in early May, and this time, Clemens kept his distance — obviously, a lot has changed in a year, and there’s no reason to go through the play-by-play. I can tell you that being there for Clemens’ Stadium return is still one of the most special moments I’ve been able to cover in person.

There had been weeks of speculation and the Yankees really pulled it off without a hitch — it’s still remarkable to me how they snuck Clemens in on a commercial jet, through the airport and on to the stadium without anyone finding out about it. When Bob Sheppard directed your attention to Steinbrenner’s box during the seventh-inning stretch, and the scoreboard read, “Roger Clemens is now a Yankee!”, I can remember my first thought. It’s not printable. My second thought was to get a story up as soon as possible.

What I recall of the Yankees clubhouse that afternoon was a sense of pure giddiness and excitement, with the media pumping the idea of Clemens as a savior and most of the team doing little to downplay it. I know the Yankees won, but I’m not sure anyone paid much attention to poor Rasner, under the radar again.

Derek Jeter, to his credit, reminded people that Clemens can only pitch once every five days. Having followed Clemens’ saga through the aborted ALDS Game 3 start and on through the Mitchell Report and in the hallways of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., May 6, 2007 seems so long ago.

55 Comments

Jump on my bandwagon or not, I think we are starting to put it all together.
We know we will get strong outings from Wang and Pettite
Moose is pitching as good or even better than anyone expected.
The bullpen is killing it right now.
The lineup is at least working towards waking up.
We have GOBS of options for starting pitching. To me there is no way that we won’t find 1 or 2 of those prospects to fill that #5 spot on a permanent basis, and the #4 spot until Hughes gets back. Keep in mind that we don’t need these guys to be Jake Peavy. We just need them to eat innings and give our offense a chance to win.
Cano seems like he’s on his way out. He’s put the bat on the ball hard the last few games.
While Giambi’s batting average is nothing to look at, He’s doing other things, he walks frequently, he’s hitting homers, playing respectable defense, and driving in runs on occasions.
A-Rod is on the comeback trail even with his wife throwing him under the bus. Evidently, A-Rod has trouble with real-life “clutch” situations too. LOL.

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Here’s some more bad news. Karstens is getting closer to coming back as he comes closer during his rehab. That’s all this team needs more garbage with Betamit back.

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Yeah chaz, that’s the only reason I’ve ever considered wearing Cano. I guess I’ll wear the Cano one. I hope he could see from about 40 rows back…I couldn’t get better seats. What’s wrong with the tickets this season?

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You don’t build a pitcher’s confidence by demoting him back to the minors. He has to do that at the major league level, that’s where his problems lie. Having him pitch against minor leaguers might not help, but we’ll see.

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Go with the Cano jersey. He needs all the support he can get.

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Seriously, I hope we can get something for Betamit at the trade deadline. Though something tells me, even if a team is crazy enough to take him, Cashman will refuse to give him up.

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Lol.
Who needs A Rod when we have 2008 AL MVP Wilson Betamit

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Great, Betemit’s back. Now the offense could *finally* get going!!!
So excited to see Wang tonight. Joba’s for sure not getting to pitch so that really sux. I’m still so upset about that Seattle game which mysteriously has no tickets. Which jersey should I wear? Wang or Cano…

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Something’s gotta give tonight, that’s for sure. Wanger owes Cleveland a beat down.

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How about this pitching matchup? Wang against Lee. Two undefeated pitchers with a combined 11 wins already.

Let’s see if our offense can inflate Lee’s sick 0.96 ERA.

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Joba will be fine. I’m not worried about him losing a few games for us this year. Seems to me that he needs to learn to listen to his backstop. Maybe he should watch Bull Durham? Kennedy’s start in AAA was brilliant. Seems to me that he won’t be down long if he is going to treat AAA hitters like that. I thought it would have been a great idea to move him to the bullpen first, but I guess I’m not the one running the team. I can’t wait till he gets called back up. It is really exciting to root for pitchers whose best years are way IN FRONT of them, not 5 years behind them. Go YANKEES!!!! Wang is 6-0. Not to jinx anything, but 7-0 would look so much better. I’m also anxious to see if Igawa can offer anything. Some good starts out of him would sure give us more options to strengthen what has become a DAMN GOOD BULLPEN. These are great days we’re livin, bros! We’re jolly green giants walking the earth…..with guns!

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He may have missed badly with his curve ball, but that fastball that lost us the game was probably the worst pitch. Although I looked at the video and it was a good pitch up and in, but it was just turned on and blasted.

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Comments on Joba: I agree that Joba didn’t seem to have his usual stuff going. Whether it was just something between him and Molina, or just not his night I’d say that after the first month things are going well with him! He’s got 13.1 innings and although this year’s ERA of 3.38 is triple what it was last year he will be fine. Its going to happen, this is the major leagues and there are very good hitters on every team.

No idea about that fanny pack, I think you can though. :p

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Ok. Comments on Joba’s work last night? Kay and Coney were talking about how he seeemed to have a very different pitching plan last night than Molina did, shaking off several pitches before throwing one? It was obvious he wanted to use his curve to set up his fastball and it didn’t work. He was missing badly with his curve last night.

HEY!!! Does anyone know, can I bring a small fanny pack into the stadium??

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Farnsworth did a respectable job. Veras, ditto.

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I guess the one good thing is that, if we have a couple run lead tomorrow, I could see both Joba and Mo??? Come on CMW! Give us a blow out that not even Chris Britton could blow!

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DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT! EVERYTHING SUCKS!
First Joba takes a dive last night (I keep saying that these are games we MUST win, the SUCHS are winning them, we MUST or we’ll never see October) and the forecast for tomorrow is overcast and showery which means not only will my trip to the Staduim not be a bright sunny experience but Moose will have to pitch in the wet. I don’t like these convergences…..

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I guess the whole point of this was for Kennedy to build up his confidence. Last year he chewed everybody up from A league to the majors. Still, this is only his second fully pro year and maybe there was some self doubt in him at this point.

Now, a few starts like this and he should get his confidence back so he can come back and beat up major league hitting again.

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ATTN: Bryan, the first time I’ve ever watched kids on deck you were on…. Good stuff man…. Great typing :P

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ATTN: Bryan, the first time I’ve ever watched kids on deck you were on…. Good stuff man

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If he has another thre or four starts like he had tonight, then he hasn’t been rushed at all. It proves that can and has prove himself at the minor league level, he needs to show he can handle the majors mentally, he can do that at the major league level not the minors. There’s nothing wrong with him mechanically.

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Nah, its possible but he shouldn’t be rushed.

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The line on IPK tonight:

Kennedy 5/6/2008

Innings Pitched 7.1
Hits 1
Runs 0
Earned Runs 0
Base on Balls 0
Strike Outs 8
Home Runs 0
ERA 0.00
Pitches/Strikes 90/58
Ground outs/Fly outs 5/9
Batters Faced 24

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Yeah baby!!!!! Here’s the line for Kennedy’s outing:

7 1/3 IP 1 H 0 R 8 Ks.

Three or four more starts like that, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back up with the Yanks. Like I said before his problems stem from pitching in the majors, not the minors, he has nothing to prove there. Yanks shouldn’t have been so quick to send him down. All his problems have been mental.

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According to Bet”Oh my God!!! I STill can’t hit worth a lick”amit himself, the pink eye only affected five of his ABs at night, he said he could see during the daytime fine. So much for any possible excuses. There are no excuses for someone being as bad as Betamit. If, and that’s a big “if”, there are teams out there who are interested in Bet”You guys didn’t think I could be such a waste of a ballplayer, did you”amit those teams are either crazy or just plain intellectually challenged to deal for “The Strikeout Machine” in a package deal or otherwise. This guy is hitting .174, not even his weight, he barely has any value as a late game defensive replacement. No team is going to deal for that mess. All they have to do is wait for the Yanks to cut him, and if they don’t no big loss.

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Bryan, you did a great job with the story being put up about Clemens. It’s amazing how much can change in one year.

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YANKEES MINOR LEAGUE SCOREBOARD May 6, 2008

Charlotte (White Sox) 0
Scranton/WB 4
W: I. Kennedy (1-0, 0.00); L: W. Whisler (5-1, 1.77)
HR: None.
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2008_05_06_chraaa_swbaaa_1&t=g_box&did=milb
Trenton 5
Erie (Tigers) 2
W: D. McCutchen (4-2, 2.15); L: A. Kown (2-3, 6.55)
HR: TRE: C. Malec (3). ERI: D. Ryan (5).
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2008_05_06_treaax_eswaax_1&t=g_box&did=milb
Jupiter (Marlins) 4
Tampa 5 (10)
W: J. Valdez (5-1, 1.13); L: M. Lamacchia (0-2, 4.05)
HR: None.
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2008_05_06_jupafa_tbyafa_1&t=g_box&did=milb
Charleston 7
Hickory (Pirates) 4
W: C. Heyer (2-0, 2.04); L: Z. Oliver (0-1, 5.79); SV: J. Ortiz (10)
HR: CHA: W. Rufino (5), A. Almonte (4).
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2008_05_06_crdafx_hicafx_1&t=g_box&did=milb
You may also see http://www.yankeesdaily.com for details.

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I agree Candy. What the heck are we doing with this guy? Great, my cable box is out, and I can’t see any ballgames. Gotta stic tot he ticker for now.

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I think Betemit’s only lowering his value with his ABs, bench him before all GMs realize he’s useless

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Andy through 5, thats a good sign.

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Good job big G.

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People believe Betemit will be starting to showcase him for other teams who are still high on him.

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Yep… Nice job Bet “I can’t hit” amit…… Almost hit into a DP…. Nice rally kill

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Sounds like they wanted Gonzalez down to get more ABs, should sent Duncan instead.

Igawa is starting friday.

I guess they blame Betemit’s trouble on not seeing pitches due to injury.

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WTF IS BETIMIT DOING UP????? What a waste of an AB

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Last year, I didn’t really think Clemens was going to do much for the team. ” He is just one pitcher.” I thought. So did Jeter. The Yankees made a mistake in sending Gonzalez down, he is a better player than Betemit, as much as I’ve tried to defennd the guy, it looks like he’s only playing for the money; he’s not even trying at plate right now. For him to earn a start over Ensberg is beyond me. What is wrong with Girardi? I don’t care if he’s getting payed 1.2 million, VGiambi geting payed 21 mil and he has erratic playing time. Seems like the man crush lives on in Cashman’s little world. Now, me thinking out of the box here. But I think the move was made to see if Betemit can build his trade value on the field ( huh? ) while having Gonzo have regular playing time in SW/B. If Betemit struggles, he can be ousted and Gonzo can take his spot or Betemit has some good months and looks appealing at the July 31st deadline, gets traded away and viola! Gonzalez gets the call.

Don’t know about you guys, but I think he’s the shortstop of the future, if he can manage a .280-.290 average with average power, that glove is golden, no doubt about it. Just my opinion though.

By the way. Like I mentioned before, Kennedy’s struggles are all mental. He’s dominating Charlotte at the Triple A level.

” The game is 90 percent mental, the other half is physical. “

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i agree with bpark here, Duncan is a better hitter then Betemit, but so am I and I only play beer league softball now. Let Shelly het regular ABs we all know he can hit balls to the moon, and we saw last year that when he gets hot every other AB is getting us runs. If we can get some consistency out of him he could be a valuable asset as he can play 1B, 3B and RF. I’m going to miss Gonzalez, I liked him he had the attitude that all young players should have at the plate: put the ball in play and make the fielders do something with it. Alberto will be missed especially when we have that no talent puke Betemit on our roster. He’s the equivalent of the pitcher batting, except we’re playing all AL teams, great.

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Read this Bryan should linked it:

http://riveraveblues.com/2008/05/06/game-34-the-glorious-return-of-wilson-betemit-2730/

Lol@World’s worse case of pink eye. I agree we are showcasing Betemit for a trade.

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Plus if its so impossible, why would we send Duncan down for 3 weeks already. It may make no sense to you but Cashman makes these decisions and I agree with him than Kennedy and Duncan should be in AAA for different reasons. Kennedy still needs to develop, Duncan needs to be playing.

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Listen I am with you on Gonzalez. It just makes no sense carry a guy like Duncan when there is no ABs for him. I rather have Gonzalez than all 3 of them.

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Keep wishing for the impossible bpark, it just isn’t going to happen. It makes absolutely no sense to get rid of a player who could provide some offense with a player who doesn’t provide any. Duncan, Ensberg, and Gonzalez are all better hitters than that ******* Betamit who can’t hit at all.

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Tampa’s bullpen has been doing extremely well and we could have had Percival for nothing.

I would have prefer to keep Gonzalez over Betermeter, Ensburglar and Trashcan. Betermeter better hit. We should have sent Britton down but maybe the play is to get Gonzalez some PT.

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They could have have both on the bench but the Yanks prefer to waste a roster spot on the roster for a no-talent.

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Nope Gonzalez was the one who just got optioned to SWB. What a mistake. Make way for The Strikeout Machine!!

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Duncan should be in triple A, there is no point in having him ride the bench, he needs ABs or he is gonna struggle like he has. We need to keep Gonzalez in a bench role over Duncan to evaluate him for long term. We are also very high on Gonzalez may Ensburglar really is gone.

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Even though Rasner had a good start, I don’t think he is a long term solution. His career record with the Yanks is only 5-4 with an ERA around 4.00. He’s an ok option for now, but he is just keeping a spot warm until Hughes or Kennedy comes back. Just don’t do the stupid thing and extrapolate his numbers to judge how good he is joe, he’s just temporary.

Keep Duncan, and Gonzalez, they both provide more offense than that sorry for an excuse ballplayer Betamit who can’t hit at all, Yanks should cut him altogether.

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Peter Abraham says no word on the official move but Ensburglar may have been cut.

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Send Duncan back to AAA and let Gonzalez stay. Duncan doesn’t play much.

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Jonathan was Clemens throwing at Stros camp with the (ONE) torn ligament? I don’t think he needed surgery. Clemens would need a month or so to get ready, he’s done that the past 3 years. He is a way better option than Igawa. I don’t want to bust up the Rasner party but I am not sure whether he will continue his dominance against teams other than Seattle.

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Here’s some bad news for everyone, the Yanks just activated that no-talent Betamit from the DL. That could mean trouble for Alberto Gonzalez as they will have to clear a spot for the Strikeout Machine himself. So it looks like the organization’s mancrush on Betamit is still alive and kicking, unfortunately. This team should have cut this no-talent a long time ago, this guys has no role on this team,at least Gonzalez provided some offense, and had some good ABs while he has been here. Get ready for Ks now!!

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Rasner had a decent outing against Seattle so he stays as the 4th starter for now. Igawawful will probably make the 5th starter, but we all know what he brings, absolutely nothing. IF he blows up they should bring up other prospects like Steven White who deserves a shot. I think it would be crazy to bring back Clemens, he’s not a difference maker, and physically is a wreck. It’s definitely possible for Kennedy to come back if he has 4 or 5 good, solid outings. He has nothing left to prove in the minors any way.

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BRING CLEMENS BACK?? ARE YOU ON DRUGS??? I respect the heck out of Peter Gammons, but speculating about ANYONE bringing Clemens back is just ridiculous. First, he’s persona non-grata in the baseball world for obvious reasons. Second, it’s obvious that the Yankees are comfortable with the direction they’re headed and don’t want to bring in a 40-something year old, overpaid distraction. Finally, CLEMENS IS HURT! He’s got torn ligaments in his elbow that didn’t just magically heal themselves. He hasn’t pitched, faced real hitters or worked out in who knows how long. And judging from the recent photos I’ve seen, it doesn’t exactly look like Rocket’s been keeping up his “legendary conditioning program”. Come on. Whitey Ford or Ron Guidry have a better shot at pitching in the rotation this year than Clemens does.

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Peter Gammons said on ESPN news that we have been having discussions on whether to bring Clemens back again. Does Rasner’s performance put that on hold or do we still need another starter atleast until Hughes comes back?

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I’m not going to lie, I had the same giddiness as Bryan – I was a big Clemens fan from a pitching standpoint – and it all worked out with my season tickets (and the pushed back start) that I got to see his first game back against the Pirates – then his Mets start, and then the Old Timers Day pitching duel with Lackey…So I got to see a couple great games with him pitching.
Granted, a lot of opinions have changed recently, including my own…but still cool memories! Can’t believe it was a year ago, seems like a decade!

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Like I said earlier, I was never as embarrassed as a Yankee fan than I was at that moment. “The Savior”? What a joke!!

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