Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
The story was supposed to be:
Hometown Hero Roger Clemens Fantastic in All-Star Game
Instead, the story turned out to be:
Clemens Implodes, Gives Up Six Runs in First
Roger Clemens is a future Hall-of-Famer. Roger Clemens has one of the best pitching records in the majors this season. Roger Clemens is a force to be reckoned with.
So how did Roger Clemens give up six runs–one of the worst first innings ever pitched in baseball–on such a stage?
Enter Mike Piazza.
Mike Piazza, All-Star catcher for the New York Mets and a future Hall-of-Famer himself, has a very thorny relationship with Clemens, much of it dating back to an incident in the 2000 Subway Series, when Clemens threw a piece of a broken bat back in the general direction of Piazza, who was at-bat. The ensuing argument and Clemens’ refusal to admit any wrongdoing has led to, as they say, some bad blood.
This bad blood was yet another angle on this All-Star game, as Piazza would be catching Clemens’ pitches for, it was assumed, several innings.
Much was made afterwards of how little Piazza and Clemens spoke to each other last night, how Clemens warmed up with a reserve catcher and only took a few throws with Piazza, how often Clemens shook off Piazza’s signals.
Now, I’m not accusing anybody of anything. But the position of catcher is a very important one in terms of the mechanics of baseball–he calls for pitches based on what he observes of the batter, what he expects will throw the batter off. If he calls for a bad pitch and the pitcher doesn’t realize how bad the call is, a good batter will go to town on the throw.
This is an All-Star Game. They were all good batters.
If I were Mike Piazza, and I still held a grudge against Roger Clemens, I don’t know if I could have found a better opportunity to embarrass the man than while Clemens was the starting pitcher of this much-hyped event, playing in his team’s home field, playing in front of his own home town, on a night where Bud Selig was due to present Clemens with some kind of achievement award during the fourth inning.
Yes, if he did this, he was almost guaranteeing an NL loss, which meant that home-field advantage in the World Series would go to the AL team this year. And yes, the Mets are only two games out of 1st in their division, so it could be seen as possibly shooting oneself in the foot.
On the other hand, the AL had home-field advantage last year during the Series, and the Marlins crushed the Yankees.
If I were Mike Piazza, and I harbored a grudge. Well. I’m just saying.