On Sunday, Roger Clemens announced his decision to play for the New York Yankees. He leaves behind a number of miffed Houston Astros fans, many of whom feel Clemens has deserted the home team. Seth Stevenson knows their pain. In this article from 2004, he describes his deep, burning, unbridled hatred for the greatest pitcher in baseball.
To: Roger Clemens
From: A Red Sox fan
Re: All-Star Game
Dear Roger Clemens,
Let me offer my hearty congratulations on starting the All-Star Game. Wow, that is really terrific. I’d like to note, however, that I hate you.
Also: You are fat. They say you’ve got this hard-core training regimen, with calisthenics and whatnot. I’m not seeing it. You’re wicked fat.
Oh, perhaps that was uncalled for. You know what else was uncalled for? Sucking, every time it mattered. You ruined my childhood, fatty. Because the trauma you put me through as a young, impressionable Red Sox fan has stunted my emotional growth, I revert to a juvenile mind-set whenever I see you. Like repeatedly calling you fat.
It started, Mr. Clemens, when you left the Sox in 1996. You were in a steady decline and seemed on the cusp of retirement. Then you signed with the Blue Jays and put up two Cy Young campaigns in a row, completely owning the league. Putz.
And here you go again. After a few good-not-great years with the Yankees, you actually did retire. … And then suddenly unretired and re-emerged as a much better pitcher. Wow! A dominating half-season, out of nowhere, after everyone counted you out. Like we haven’t seen that one before, “Rocket.” Anyway, you’re still fat.
But here’s the real problem with your behavior: Fans like to think that players are giving it their all. All the time. I like to think that, anyway. But then I’m just a simple, good-hearted man, a man who wants to believe in heroes. How can I believe in heroes, Mr. Clemens, when the world is home to people like you? It’s clear that you just try hard when you feel like it. And even then, only when there’s nothing on the line. Well, that sucks, dude. You shouldn’t be like that.
I’d like to add that it’s not just me. Nobody likes you. It’s just a matter of degree—of how much we hate you. Personally, I measure my hate in terms of how severely I want you to be injured. Like, I guess I wouldn’t want to see you crippled for life, so you couldn’t walk anymore. But I really wouldn’t mind if you pulled your groin and missed five starts. That’s the over-under on my hate.
By the way (and this has nothing to do with you, except that it involves another player I despise), did you hear Frank Deford’s poetic ode to Derek Jeter? “Our guy is never at the top of the stats/ He just makes the plays and takes his at-bats … For all the hotshots there is no one neater/ than the guy who wears the deuce—the ace—Derek Jeter.” My God! I mean, my God!!
Hey, don’t think I’m done with you, Clemens. What about this: Not only do you have no fans, you have no team. You don’t travel with the Astros unless you have to, and then you go all by yourself. What’s with that? If you could, I’m certain you’d hire yourself out, start by start, to the highest bidder. You whore. Maybe we should just play the All-Star Game at your house, in your backyard, so you can spend even more time with your wife and kids. Would that be more convenient, chump?
Speaking of your kids, their names all start with K. Because K is the symbol for strikeout. That’s lame, dude. If I named my kids after something I’m really good at, they’d all be named “Calling-Roger-Clemens-Fat Stevenson.” And that’s just too unwieldy.
In conclusion, I really, really hate you.