You're the new owner of a major league baseball team. And you come with a bunch of baggage attached. Baggage like war profiteering and various EEOC charges involving sexist and racial statements and actions directed toward your employees. Your team is bad, and there are large portions of your fan base that are very angry because the team is changing leagues. Attendance is way down, and your team is getting little local or national respect.
One would think that, in this circumstance, new Astros owner Jim Crane would be very careful about who he lets associate with the team. He's done a good job of ridding the team of lots of the negative flotsam that accumulated with the Astros under Drayton McLane's ownership, including sending Ed Wade and Tal Smith off to other destinations.
So it's rather puzzling to see Crane embracing an association with Roger Clemens. Sure, a jury found Clemens not guilty of obstructing a Congressional investigation, but the stench around Clemens is still around, and seeing what's been discovered about Clemens over the past several years, it just seems Crane would not want him hanging around, pre-existing personal services contract or not.
That said, Crane believes Clemens can add a dimension to the team should he return. So with that in mind, here are some dimensions that Clemens could possibly add to the Astros.
20. Getting announcers to call your return from retirement the most dramatic thing they've ever seen in baseball.
19. Teaching pitchers the proper technique for throwing broken bats at Mike Piazza, or any other catcher who has hit home runs off you.
18. Teaching pitchers the proper way to throw fastballs to the head of Mike Piazza, or any other batter who has a hit home run off of you.
17. That said, there's the benefit of showing the hitters just how mean and rotten and unsportsmanlike it is to hit home runs and get base hits off of pitchers -- it appears that this is a lesson that the Astros have recently learned.
16. How to get paid for a full season despite playing only half of a season.
15. How to rub Icy Hot on your testicles before a start.
14. How to wear ninja turtle shoe laces so that you'll look tough.
13. How not to grow third ears from your head because you're doing steroids.
12. How to retire, unretire, retire, unretire, retire, unretire, retire, unretire, retire...
11. The only legal advice you'll ever need: tampering with witnesses and getting away with it.
8. How to out your wife as a user of illegal drugs, yet still be able to save your marriage.
7. Proper modeling poses to employ when appearing in the SI Swimsuit issue.
6. The best way to pick up underage country singers and still make the public think the girl's the sleazy one.
5. Talking your current team into drafting your untalented son and giving him a contract.
4. Differentiating B-12 shots from HGH shots.
2. Making it so that Andy Pettitte, a fellow pitcher who lied multiple times about his HGH use, becomes the world's most honest human being.
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1. Finding an owner who, despite your massive baggage, will do everything possible to pay you to add dimensions to a team.
But do you know what would really be nice? What would really be nice would be if the team were to think as long and hard about bringing Clemens back under the auspices of the Astros as Crane and company are currently doing with J.R. Richard. If they can be ready to bring Clemens back within hours of a verdict, then what's taking so damn long for the team to find a function for Richard?
And I'm pretty sure that putting Richard under a personal services contract and giving him a role with the team would be far more popular with the fans than getting into bed with Roger Clemens.