You’re Roger Clemens. You’ve got three places to pad your Hall-of-Fame stats this year. Do you choose —

A) Your hometown team, the organization that employs your oldest son and will likely employ you when you’re playing career is over, but also a team that is already 7 games out in the NL Centeral;

B) The team, and city, you left on bad terms, an organization you have no more ties to, with a fan base that your wife once said treated you worse than Hitler and would do so again if it felt you in any way hurt their chances of winning it all this year. A team with a starting rotation featuring Japanese guy you’ve never heard of who is a bigger story than you, a wanna-be Hall-of-Famer who craves the spotlight more than you, and a Cy Young winner in waiting who could upstage you on the mound with every start; or

C)The team that you won a championship with, with the same adoring owner and manager, same captain and same closer. The team that your best friend plays for, with fans who see you as their savior. The team that can give you the most run support and, on top of all of that, will pay you at least $10 million more than your other two suitors.

Seems like a pretty easy choice. So spare me the villification of Roger Clemens for choosing to pitch for the New York Yankees this summer. Forget about the laundry that you root for for a second and think about what you would have done if you were in his shoes.

Boston fans are understandably disappointed with the Rocket’s decision. Some had sentimental reasons to see No. 21 in a Red Sox uniform again. Others still hold a grudge and didn’t want him on the Red Sox but didn’t want him in pinstripes, either. They know it makes this Yankees better. That’s an undeniable fact. Some Sox fans are trying to convince themselves otherwise, but it’s true.

Clemens solidifies a shaky Yankee rotation. Outside of the top three of Wang, Mussina and Pettitte, he’s better than any of the other scrubs they’ve been trotting out to the mound for the last month. He’s a much-needed power pitcher joining a rotation that doesn’t really have any power pitchers anymore.

That doesn’t mean he’s going to dominate like he did with the Astros. Outside of the Mets, the lineups in the National League aren’t very good. And, having averaged just under six innings an outing last year, he’s certainly not going to significantly reduce the strain on the Yankee bullpen.

Obviously, the Red Sox can’t be happy about this news, but they shouldn’t respond to New York’s panic move with one of their own. What they should do, though, is disassociate themselves with Roger Clemens all-together. They’ve been nothing more than a bargaining chip for him to play off the Astros and Yankees the last few years. He’s used them enough.

They should relieve themselves of the notion of retiring Clemens’ number. They should give the No. 21 to the next guy that wants it (wasn’t Josh Beckett No. 21 in Florida?). They should give their blessing to Clemens’ preference to enter the Hall of Fame as a Yankee.

It’s obvious the guy doesn’t want anything to do with the Red Sox or Boston again. That’s fine. Who can blame the guy? The Yankees and their fans have treated him a lot better

And, quite frankly, they deserve each other.


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