Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 8/28/12

At 50 years old, Roger Clemens said he wanted to have some fun in his latest return to the mound. He did that and more Saturday night before a sold-out crowd. Clemens, one of MLB greatest pitchers in the history of the game, proved "he still got it" - leaving major league scouts and fans alike impressed - and saying - "NOW WHAT?" Clemens received a much deserved "standing ovation" from players and fans Saturday night. During his time on the mound for the Skeeters he gave up only one hit, striking out two and walking none. Not a bad outing for a 50-year old man who hasn't pitched for a team in five-years and has become more known to many as the guy who was charged with lying to Congress about alleged steroid use. (He was acquitted of all charges in June)

"NOW WHAT?" Prior to Saturday nights mound appearance for the Skeeters there's been plenty of speculation that this was a mere stepping stone on the way to a return to pitching in the major leagues. Houston Astros executives have even said they wouldn't rule out bringing Clemens back. Scouts from the Astros and Kansas City Royals were sitting in the stands. Clemens positive performance only adds to the speculation that the "Rockets" serious about stepping on a major league mound again. Kansas City scout Ron Toenjes said after the game Clemens performance will do nothing to silence all the rumors. Tal Smith, a former Astros executive and current special adviser to the Skeeters, was impressed with Clemens command. He said he believes "The Rocket" could pitch in the majors. Clemens fast ball was clocked at 87-88 most of the night and scouts say he threw a good - hard splitter.
The outing was good enough to leave Clemens satisfied. Speaking to reporters after the game Clemens said, "I felt good, and it was extremely hot." He added, " I feel very fortunate, very blessed that I was able to go out and throw well and get the ball down." Asked what was next for him, Clemens used humor to deflect the obvious reason for the question.

"A LOT OF ICE," Clemens bought 125 tickets to the game for family and friends.

Clemens, who pitched 24 seasons in the majors with the Red Sox - Blue Jays - New York Yankees - and Houston Astros, to become one of the most intimidating and dominating pitchers in baseball, looked the part Saturday night , one - hitting Bridgeport through his shortened start, much to the delight of the 7,724 who packed Constellation Field in this Houston suburb. He threw 37 pitchers, 24 of them strikes. He struck out two, walked none, and for the most part pitched to contact and relied on his defense to make quick work of the Bluefish. Former Astros executive TAl Smith said it was a "magical evening" and Roger Clemens exceeded "expectations."
Critics of Roger Clemens will scream - "we don't need another Brett Favre - NO COMEBACK!"
I'll guarantee you, players and the fans Saturday night don't share that feeling today. I'll guarantee you he was an inspiration to everyone in that ballpark and each will remember this game for the rest of their lives. They'll talk about being at this game like fans who "claim" they were in Yankee Stadium the day Don Larson pitched his "perfect game" in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I say if Roger Clemens wants another shot at pitching in major league baseball - "he should have it." He should go for it, and nothing should stand in the way.
I'd buy a ticket to see him take the mound again. Federal prosecutors "blew" millions trying to prove he took steroids - committed perjury, yet couldn't knock the "Rocket" on his ass, I doubt if hitters will. One day "history" will determine steroids, PED's use by athletes was far more fiction than fact and kept in the spotlight for more than a decade by individuals with agenda's "less than noble." It's still being played out now in cyclist Lance Armstrong's life.
It took more than "popping pills' or "sticking a needle" in one's ass to strike out 4,672 major league hitters - win 354 games - be an 11 time All-Star - and seven (7) time Cy Young Award Winner. If Roger Clemens does put the uniform on again, I hope when he sets foot on the baseball mounds of MLB, fans greet him the way players and the crowd did in Sugar Land, Texas Saturday night. Like the "Rocket" or not, give him credit, he's not a quitter.
In my book , "HE'S STILL THE BEST" (even at age 50)................

Larry Upton
"Upton on Sports" - source:latimes/argusleader/

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