We think things are bad in Red Sox nation, but truthfully, it could be a lot worse. Take the Houston Astros, for example. Here, we complain that our Sox are a (roughly) .500 team and eight games out of a playoff spot. No, that isn't good, but try this on for size... the Astros are a .300 team (yes, .300, as in their win percentage) who are out of the playoff picture by 28.0 games. They have 39 wins. See, I told you. Still complaining about .500, Boston?
Granted, the Astros don't exactly have the lofty payroll that the Sox do, but that's not the point of this commentary. When things are as bad as they are in Houston, changes are needed. Something, anything, just to try and keep fans interested.
To their credit, some changes have been made. There's a new owners, they fired former Red Sox coach Brad Mills as their manager, as well as a few other coaches. But that isn't enough to keep people in the seats. People don't buy baseball tickets to watch the manager (sorry, John Henry and Bobby Valentine). They still need to do something else.
Why not bring back Texas hero Roger Clemens?
Clemens, in case you didn't know, is back in baseball, as the 50-year-old has signed on with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent league. Clemens will pitch on Saturday, and according to reports, Astros scouts will be in attendance. Of course, Clemens and the Astros have a history -- he pitched in Houston from 2004 through 2006 and led the 'stros to their only World Series appearance.
Now, Clemens isn't exactly a long term answer. At 50 years old, he is probably not going to be pitching for very long (he might not even make it through Saturday's start, but that remains to be seen). Still, for a team in desperate search of answers (and probably money), bringing back Clemens -- even if it's only for one month -- makes sense.
Clemens probably won't win the Astros many (or any) games, but if Houston does bring back The Rocket, it would offer fans a chance to see a pitching legend (albeit, one who may or may not have partaken in the use of performance enhancing drugs) in action one last time.
If I'm in the Astros front office, I'd be pushing hard for that move. Again, bringing back Clemens doesn't help you win, now or in the future, but it sells tickets and generates buzz, which is important in sports -- even if it shouldn't be the primary goal.
Does Clemens deserve one last chance? Most will say he doesn't, but based on his stellar career (aided by steroids or not), why not? If the man wants to pitch another game, and a professional team wants to give him another shot, why not? What's the harm?
It's good for Clemens, good for the Astros, and good on some levels for baseball.