Rocket to Yanks?

The story surfaced a couple of weeks ago on sports-talk radio, and it hasn't died yet.

The talk surrounds Houston's Roger Clemens, who has a handshake deal to be traded to the Yankees if the Astros aren't in the division race by the All-Star break.

I freely admit that Clemens is one of, if not the best, pitchers in the game in the last 20 years. He's won seven Cy Young awards, the most in baseball history.

What I don't understand is that he retired from the game because he wanted to spend more time with his family. The Astros lured him out of retirement with the promise that he didn't have to make road trips with the team unless he was pitching. So, he gets his wish, and makes a boatload of money at the same time.

Now, people are saying that Clemens and the Astros' owner have a handshake deal.

What's up with that? Roger, do you want to pitch or not? It wasn't like the Yankees forced you out. You were the one that left for family reasons. Honor your contract Roger. The Astros paid you fairly. Honor the contract.

The Yankees could obviously use Clemens, who is having one of his best seasons ever. He is 3-2 with a 1.19 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 69 in 68 innings and allowed only 41 hits. Not bad for a guy over 40.

And, speaking of older players, it was nice to see Barry Bonds in the dugout at SBC Park the other night. Apparently, the anti-biotics that Bonds had been talking for the infection in his knee are starting to work better.

Like him or not, Bonds can play the game. He's always been a great hitter ever since he broke in with the Pirates. It's his power surge in the latter stages of his career that have people wondering how long he might have been taking steroids.

Was he on drugs when he hit 73 homers? It's probably something we'll never know. I find it hard to believe that the record fell because of weaker pitching and a juiced baseball.

I would like to see him pass both Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron for career homers. His health will dictate if that happens, however. If he misses much more of this season or all of it, it might take two years to catch Aaron.

The biggest chink in his armor is that he's arrogant. He's been downright rude with the media most of his career and thinks the writers are out to get him. I don't think writers are out to get them, but I don't think they are shedding any tears for Barry, either. Even a "homer" writer can't ignore the drug allegation. Some things can be ignored, but that's not one of them.

One thing people need to remember. If he was on juice, that might help him hit the ball farther, but he still has to connect. Bonds has great hand-eye coordination obviously, and just think where he might be if pitchers pitched to him and he didn't draw all those intentional walks.

I know that the San Francisco fans will welcome him back with open arms when or if he returns. The fans on the road will be another story. Can you imagine the lunatics at Shea Stadium or Yankee Stadium if Bonds plays there? Those fans have never been nice, and were even turning on their own teams earlier this year.

Give him his due folks. The cloud he will carry over him is probably enough punishment. Does he deserve the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. It should be a unanimous first ballot. If not, the writers have done him a disservice.

Darrell Moody can be reached at, or by calling (775) 881-1281


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