Saturday, January 22, 2005

Stupid, stupid, stupid column on Roger Clemens 

Look, I'm not a big Roger Clemens fan. I've always thought he was something of a jackass. Thought he was part of that whole dysfunctional New England sports scene that I want nothing to do with. Great pitcher, one of the greatest ever, no question, but I've never really liked him.

That said, Mike Celizic's column for MSNBC today is just asinine. One of the stupidest columns I've ever read. In a nutshell, Clemens has made millions, so he shouldn't care about the money he makes now. He should be about winning, about allowing the Astros to spend more money on other players, because years from now, his paycheck won't matter anyway, but his legacy will.

The most telling tidbit:

"I don’t get it. If I were Roger Clemens, I’d offer to pay for the opportunity to put myself so high on the all-time lists that no one will ever catch me. Getting paid to go out at the age of 43 and further distance myself from all present and future pursuers would be a bonus."

No, Mike Celizic, if you were Roger Clemens, that's not what you'd do. You wouldn't offer to pay to stick around for a year after winning the N.L. Cy Young Award. You wouldn't just take whatever the team wanted to give you after having taken a huge paycut the year before, and after having led your team to the NLCS and caused a big boost in attendance whenever you pitched.

This sort of demagoguery from the press, I find pathetic. I'm tired of whiny sportswriters complaining about how athletes get millions to do what so many people would love to do for free. You know what? I'd love to be a professional writer. I'd love to write all those books John Grisham or Stephen King or Anne Tyler or Philip Roth have written. And by golly, I'd do it for free...I wouldn't demand all those millions that Grisham or King get.

Of course, it is a pointless comparison, because millions of people don't buy my books. So it is pointless for my to speculate that, if I were as popular as Stephen King, I'd publish all my books for free and give writing workshops to disadvantaged children. Just as it is pointless for Mike Celizic to lecture sanctimoniously about how Roger Clemens should be humble and grateful for the opportunity to play a game for a living...millions of people are willing to pay to watch him play.

What a bunch of wannabes would or wouldn't do doesn't matter. Because I'm not going to sell millions of books, and Mike Celizic isn't going to have folks pay to watch him pitch.

And what Mike Celizic thinks he would or wouldn't do doesn't matter. Celizic believing that Roger Clemens should pitch for free for some ethereal reason is absolutely meaningless. And I feel dumber for having read his whining.

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