Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 8/23/12

This weekend when I heard on the news that pitching great Roger Clemens signed a contract with the "Sugar Land Skeeters" I didn't pay much attention. I figured it was to appear in some commercials to sell more "skeeters." A candy product like M & M's. Until I read this mornings paper and found out the "Skeeters" were a minor-league baseball team in the independent Atlantic League in Texas and that Clemens had signed a contract to pitch for them this coming Saturday night against the Bridgeport, Connecticut Bluefish on the "Skeeters" home field. Clemens is 50. He hasn't pitched since 2007. Some believe his return to the minor-leagues is the first step to another comeback in the major leagues. Clemens said "thinking" about a big league comeback is "premature."
Is this the "Rocket's" way of leaving the door open for a ML comeback? His signal to ML executives and scouts, "Hey guys, come down to Sugar Land Texas Saturday night and watch me pitch!" Clemens told reporters he believed he can still compete.

For 23 seasons Clemens was one of the most dominating pitchers in the history of Major League baseball. He wore the uniforms of four teams (Yankees twice).

He won 354 games - struck out 4,672 - had a 3.12 ERA - was an 11 time All-Star - 7 time Cy Young Award winner - 2 time World Series Champion, and named to the Major League Baseball's All-Century team.

Staggering, impressive numbers for a man who staged more than one "comeback" after baseball "experts" said he was "washed" up. Caught up in baseball's "steroid" era scandal and charged by the Fed's with lying to Congress, Clemens was finally acquitted of all charges on June 19th of this year after a 10-week trial. Since his Washington acquittal the future Hall of Fame pitcher has stayed out of the public spotlight - "until now."

Tad Smith, a longtime former Houston Astros executive who is now a special adviser to the Skeeters, is one person who wouldn't be surprised if Clemens made a comeback in the majors. He said, "knowing Roger and how competitive he is and what great shape he is is, and the fact that Jamie Moyer pitched close to 50 and Nolan Ryan pitched well into his late 40's, if anybody can do it, Roger Clemens can do it." Smith believes this is a great opportunity for Clemens and he thinks it could change some opinions as a possible Hall of Fame vote approaches. Smith went on to say, "I hope this helps. Voters should remember that he's been acquitted of all charges and that he "never" tested positive.

Clemens threw for the team Monday. His fastball was clocked at 87. Recently he had an MRI in Florida. His doctor told Clemens the MRI looked great. "Your shoulder looks like you're 30. You should go pitch -just kidding." The doctor was kidding but Clemens said it was then that he began thinking he could "play again."

Many say his signing with the minor-league team's a PR "stunt." A way to sell tickets and fill seats - just an ordinary media stunt. Roger Clemens doesn't do media stunts. He's been a serious professional baseball player his entire life. No one in the game has worked or pushed themselves more to succeed than "Roger Clemens." Ask any of his former teammates if Roger Clemens "clowned" around in a baseball uniform? Ask any hitter in the big leagues who faced Roger Clemens if the "Rocket" was "clown" like on the mound?
Come Saturday night on the mound for the "Sugar Land Skeeters" Roger Clemens will have the same game face on he showed opponents in 23 years of Major League pitching. Make no mistake about that. The man loves baseball - he loves the competition - baseball's been his life - and there's no reason he shouldn't try to continue it. If he's successful Saturday night it just adds to his legends, and if he's not, he'll still have fun.
"Go get them Roger" make the kid's earn their way on base.........

Larry Upton
"Upton on Sports" - source: huffingtonpost/ultimateastros/

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