"I'm going out there to have fun, try and stay healthy and see where it goes. I'm not going to be too far away from the game of baseball." -- Roger Clemens, 8/21/12
And just like that, Roger Clemens is back in our lives. For the last four years, the only glimpses we've gotten of Roger have been in Washington D.C. either getting grilled by Congress about alleged steroid use, or watching Rusty Hardin defend him in court because of the things he said about alleged steroid use to Congress.
For those of us suffering from steroid fatigue, seeing Roger back in baseball in some capacity, we thought, wouldn't be such a bad thing. I'll admit it, when Jim Crane mentioned having Roger serve the Astros in some capacity, I was all for it.
But certainly the news we got earlier this week that Roger would be taking the hill for the Sugar Land Skeeters was well beyond what most expected. Roger donning a baseball uniform again to coach or to "special instruct?" Maybe. Roger donning a baseball uniform to get on the hill in a real game? Seemed highly unlikely,
Barring some chicanery from Mother Nature, Clemens will pitch on Saturday night at Constellation Field against the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent league outfit from southern Connecticut about 50 miles from New York City, where Clemens' MLB career ended (well, maybe ended, more on that in a second) amidst advanced baseball age five years ago.
At his first meeting with the media since his acquittal in June, Clemens promised very little outside of fun on Saturday night. When pressed about this start being a precursor to an attempt to return to Major League Baseball (a return that would conveniently reset the five-year wait period clock on his Hall of Fame candidacy, which despite his acquittal, has almost no chance of success as it stands now), Clemens was coy:
I wouldn't consider myself anywhere close to major-league ready. I'm nowhere near where I was five years ago or the amount of work I went into it.
Chatter has been that Clemens is throwing in the high 80's in workouts. He has a public workout today at 11 a.m., and in an interview we did on Tuesday on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio with Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti, he didn't rule out 90 to 100 pitches.
So let's talk about why all of this is really important -- for wagering purposes!
Proof that you can bet on almost anything, bovada.lv has various odds and proposition bets on Roger Clemens return. Let's delve, shall we?
How Many Pitches will Roger Clemens Throw against the Bridgeport Bluefish? Over/Under 50.5 SP BET: Based on the rumors of his pitch count, the fact that it's an independent league with no seeming ramifications, and the fact that Clemens could kick Gaetti's ass if he tried to take him out of the game, I'll go OVER.
How Many Strikeouts will Roger Clemens Record Against the Bridgeport Bluefish? Over/Under 2.5 SP BET: I have no idea what the stats are like for the Bluefish, if they're a "contact hitting" team or what. And I'm not going to recreationally wager on an independent league baseball game and hedge the pitch-count wager with an under on strikeouts. If we're betting on the Rocket, we're going all in! OVER!
Okay, these next three bets are based on a combination of a) how well you think Roger will do, and b) how full of shit you think he is that this is all just for giggles for the fans.
Total Starts for Roger Clemens for the Sugar Land Skeeters? Over 1.5 +150 (3/2) Under 1.5 -200 (1/2) SP BET: The Skeeters' next home series after this weekend against Bridgeport is not until the second weekend in September. So this can go one of three ways --
1. It really is a one-time thing, in which case there will be no second start. 2. It can actually, in Clemens' mind, be a springboard to go back to MLB, but he gets shelled in his start and realizes that he's fifty years old and says "Fuck this, I just got lit up by the Bridgeport Bluefish!" 3. He pitches well, and the Astros sign him as quickly as possible to try and pop as many crowds out at Minute Maid Park after September 1 as they possibly can.
In any of those three cases, there is no second start for the Skeeters, so we are going UNDER 1.5 starts for the Skeeters.
Will Roger Clemens Pitch for the Houston Astros During the 2012 Season? Yes +400 (4/1) No -600 (1/6) SP BET: This is almost entirely a bet on how well Clemens pitches this Saturday. If he pitches well, then 4/1 is a decent value on him pitching for the Astros this season. Hell, if it's being posted as a prop bet, then it's obviously being discussed. Vegas doesn't do frivolous bets; every wager has a reason. I'll say YES and hope.
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Will Roger Clemens Pitch at Any Point in the 2013 MLB Regular Season? Yes 8/1 SP BET: Roger Clemens is on the verge of becoming Brett Favre in baseball spikes. If he pitches in 2012, he's pitching in 2013 at some point. Throw a sawbuck down on 8/1 YES just for fun.
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