Sox 99 – Still About Clemens

The story about Roger Clemens moving to the Yankees was one which would not easily go away. Dan Shaughnessy  already had made lots of money on the Curse of the Bambino, a book which basically told the story of the failings of the Sox since 1920. Not surprisingly, the Clemens defection provided fodder for Shaughnsessy pieces on February 21 and 22.
 
The Globe sports page headline on the 21st was entitled "New York accent". It showed a beaming Rocket holding up a pinstriped shirt against a huge backround of the Yankee team insignia.
 
Shaughnessy called the sight of Clemens and Legends Field "a hideous sight for those who remember the 12 years he toiled for the Boston Red Sox." Continuing in his Curse mode, Dan stated "79 years after former Sox hurler Babe Ruth reported to the Yankees' spring training sight in Florida, Clemens retraced the Bambino's steps on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon." Shaughnessy could also not resist mentioning Dan Duquette's "twilight" statement and quoted Roger as saying "I'm not keen on (Duquette) assessing my baseball abilities." Agent Randy Hendricks also got into the act, declaring "What's shameless is the $10 million, 4-year offer the Sox gave Roger two years ago…They treated him like a rookie with everything to prove." Hendricks also proclaimed "This is about winning…Roger's passion is still fueled by what happened in the 86 World Series". Dan S then spent another paragraph re-hashing Game 6, with John McNamara's "My pitcher asked out of the
 game" comment.
 
The following day Shaughnessy mentioned the differences between the Sox and Yankee camps, contrasting the ownership present- "General" George Steinbrenner for the Yanks and pretty much no one for the Sox. Dan sang the praises of then 31-year-old GM Brian Cashman. "He's refreshingly candid, loves talking baseball, and actually said 'Part of our job is to anticipate questions that you might ask'…in contrast, the Sox issue statements that always sound like they were scripted by the Tass News Agency. The releases usually start 'Executive Vice President and General Manager Dan Duquette announced today that."…" Dan called that akin to Duke announcing that the Sox had lost to the Yankees 11-2. While admitting that both teams had 0-0 records, he noted that "the Yanks were 22 games ahead of Boston last year and just added Clemens. The Sox subtracted Mo Vaughn."
 
Shaughnessy closed by proclaiming that "it's probably too much to expect the Sox to compete with the Yankees. But the Duquette Sox are in danger of committing a more grievous sin. They might be boring."
 
Dan was off on several counts. The Townies did compete with the Yanks in 99, coming on strong in September and capturing a Wild Card. They were not boring. Nomar Garciaparra would explode into superstardom by leading the AL with a .357 average. Youngsters like Jason Varitek behind the plate and Trot Nixon in right would show lots of promise. On the mound, Bret Saberhagen and Derek Lowe woud steady the staff. Finally, a pitcher named Pedro would go 23-4 and lead the league in seven categories. He fanned 313 batters and earned his first Cy Young Award.
 
One of Clemens' issues at the time was what cap he would wear with his Hall of Fame plaque. That now may be a moot point.

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