Sunday, May 25, 2003

Another New England Writer Kisses Up To Clemens

I am so sick of hearing about Clemens, and the last thing I want to do is to continue the conversation. His history with the Red Sox has been rehashed so many times, you would think that by now the press would get it right. I let a story in the Globe pass by the other day, but this one is on ESPN, and I couldn't resist ripping it to shreads.

The story is written by Sean McAdam (http://espn.go.com/mlb/columns/mcadam_sean/1558838.html). Is is so full of half-truths that it is amazing ESPN would have anything to do with it. As McAdam says "But had Duquette looked closer -- or more objectively -- he would have found some explanations for Clemens' blue period with the Red Sox." Alright Sean, let's be objective.

This is what Sean terms as the "evidence".

Part 1: Changes for Roger

An "unnamed Sox official" says Roger was in a "transition phase" during the last four years of his Sox contract. John Marzano says, in reference to the split-finger fastball, that "it took him a while to command that pitch".

McAdams is doing a story about Clemens' last four years in Fenway, and as his "objective evidence", the only source he quotes in the entire article is former Red Sox backup catcher John Marzano. Feeling that ANY catcher will give an argument about a pitcher the air of authority, McAdams doesn't tell the readers that while Clemens' last four years with the Red Sox was 1993-1996. Marzano's last game with the Red Sox was in 1992. In other words, he wasn't there.

This is evidence of what? Is McAdam trying to say that the Red Sox should have known that after four years, Clemens was finally going to turn that around, and learn how to throw that pitch effectively?

2. Clemens Always Worked Just As Hard

Unnamed official: "I never saw a drop in his intensity."

Marzano: "We took long runs by the Charles, and early in the morning during Spring training."

This is laughable as an example of objective evidence of Roger working just as hard during his final years with the Red Sox as he did with the Blue Jays and Yankees.

3. Poor Support

Here at least, McAdam tries to use some numbers, blaming blown leads and poor run production for part of Roger's problems. But he never mentions that Roger played on some pretty bad teams before that, and it never seemed to bother him.

Sox winning %, 1989-92 .506
Roger's .664

Sox winning %, 1993-1996 .542
Roger's .506

Jay's and Yanks, 1997-00 .539
Roger's .690

Roger's team's had a higher winning percentage those last four years with the Sox than the four immediately before and after. He had his worst winning percentage during those same years.

But won-loss stats aren't always meaningful. Here's ERA +:

89-92 132, 211, 164, 175
93-96 105, 177, 115, 142
97-00 226, 176, 97, 137

Would the Sox have benefited from signing Roger? Sure. Would they still have gone after Pedro? Who knows? But here's the big question that doesn't seem to get asked: What would Theo have done?

I'm guessing that current Sox management, faced with the same situation, might have done exactly what Duquette did, just a little more diplomatically. Pedro's dedication has never been an issue, although his health has, and you don't see the Sox rushing to give him a long term deal.

I wish the press would get off Duquette's back already.

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