Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pitchers and catchers

If you think Roger Clemens's career is over just because he is widely considered to be a liar and a cheat, you don't know how desperate baseball gets for arms around the first of every June. If he can still get through five innings, he will look awfully attractive to any team yearning to climb out of the cellar -- Baltimore, let's say -- more attractive than some young hot-shot from the Kanagawa Grasshoppers, because he knows the league and the hitters and can talk to the writers without an interpreter. Besides, it's well established that the fans will show up by the busload to jeer at players perceived to be juicers. Barry Bonds has sold several million dollars' worth of tickets in the past three seasons, and an undetermined number of bedsheets for the creation of anti-Bonds messages. Human growth hormone is more offensive to the fans than alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, and every other substance related to past scandals, because it impinges upon the sacred records of baseball by improving performance rather than undermining it. I'm still not sure why this should be so, but I'm also not going to be shocked when Clemens shows up on a major league roster. Or Bonds, for that matter. It's a business.


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