The RPs Debate Roger Clemens: Zac Byer Bats Sixth

[Click here for a link to the entire RP Debate on Roger Clemens]

A few random musings first…

Original RP:  Saying Ryan Braun is your favorite Jewish ballplayer is like saying Tiger is your favorite black golfer!  Unless you’re talking historically, and then I’ll send you a few clips of Sandy Koufax from 1963…and ’65…and ’66.

-I’m ready for Artur to write a book titled Let Me Tell You Something Profound About Nearly Everything.  Forget your next campaign — I want to catch a game with you

-2013 RP Fantasy League anyone?

I’ve been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember.  Growing up in a family that shared LA Dodger season tickets helped that cause.  And I think because of my connection with the Dodgers, I’m largely a baseball purist.  We’ve got the only symmetrical ballpark in the National League.  Our beloved stadium just turned a cool 50 years old (some of the Dodger Dogs taste like they’re pushing 50, too).  And there’s no smoother voice in baseball – heck, sports – than Vin Scully.

I guess as a Dodger fan it’s natural to be anti-PED and anti-steroid.  Barry Bonds crushed us for years and Braun made out like a bandit when he won Matt Kemp’s MVP award last year.  It’s probably why Griffey Jr. is my favorite player I grew up watching.  Yet now, as I think back to all the games I’ve been to, a few moments stand out (there haven’t been many great Dodger moments since ’88):

-Watching Mark McGwire hit balls OUT of Dodger Stadium during batting practice.  I don’t mean out of the stadium, into the bleachers.  I mean OUT of the stadium, into the parking lot.  Big Mac did it once during a game – the only two others to ever do it over the last 50 years have been Willie Stargell and Mike Piazza.

-Watching Barry Bonds absolutely mash.  Each of his home runs against the Dodgers sucked a little more life out of me.  And yet I always felt like watching Bonds would be the closest thing I’d ever get to watching Babe.

-Watching Eric Gagne make some of the best hitters look like career AA bullpen catchers.  He’d run in from Left Field to “Welcome to the Jungle,” and just like our Gagne shirts said, we knew it was “Game Over.

-Watching Clemens deal.  I’ve never been so entranced watching a starting pitcher.  It’s one thing to sit on the edge of your seat in Loge 131 Row K and secretly hope to see Bonds go yard.  It’s another to sit there crossing your fingers for Rocket to hit 97 on the gun and pitch one more inning.  I remember that he didn’t throw for too long, but it was 6 or 7 of the most calculatingly brilliant innings I’ve seen a pitcher toss.

I don’t have to tell you what all of these guys have in common.  Does it disappoint me?  Without question.  Has baseball ever been as exciting as it was from the mid-90s to the Mitchell Report?  No way.  Look what’s happening now.  Football is now America’s Game.  Kids are growing up playing lacrosse instead of playing catch.  And the dollars and cents of baseball continue to get hammered, as season ticket bases erode and people stay home to watch games on their plasma TVs.

So put Clemens in the Hall so I can tell my kids about the game I saw him pitch.  And I’ll tell them about steroids, I’ll tell them about how exciting baseball was back then and how devastating some of the claims were.  And then we’ll go out and play catch and everything will be fine.”

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