Astros manager Bo Porter says his players were disrespectful to Roger Clemens

roger-clemens-skeetersThe Houston Astros should take all the advice they can get. They have not won more than 56 games in a season since 2010, and their record has gotten more embarrassing each year since. Last season, Houston won just 51 games. Given their resume, the players would be wise to listen when people like Roger Clemens speak.

Clemens is a special advisor to the Astros. He met with the team for a short period on Wednesday, and Houston manager Bo Porter was unhappy with the “disrespectful” manner in which his players carried themselves.

“Obviously, as an organization, we’re fortunate to have some people like Roger Clemens and Craig Biggio and different people that will come in throughout the course of the year and speak to our ball club,” Porter told the Houston Chronicle. “Out of respect to your teammates, out of respect to the people that take time out of their day that come out here, it’s the right thing to do to make sure that you are dressed and ready and attentive when that person shows up.”

A 51-111 team (that’s a .315 winning percentage, math people) should be particularly attentive. The Astros are the laughing stock of Major League Baseball. Is listening to Clemens going to make them a playoff team? Not quite, but it can’t hurt — especially for pitchers and catchers.

By going public with his frustrations, Porter is obviously setting the tone in his first season with the club.

Roger Clemens: Mike Piazza could use speed training in addition to karate

Roger-Clemens-Mike-PiazzaMike Piazza recently released his new book entitled “Long Shot,” and it has already produced an incredibly memorable quote about Roger Clemens. In the book, Piazza said that he took karate lessons to prepare for a fight with Clemens during the well-documented feud that took place between the two former All-Stars back at the turn of the century.

Clemens visited Houston Astros spring training over the weekend, and naturally he was asked about the excerpt from the book. The Rocket didn’t really take the bait, but he did throw a light-hearted jab at his nemesis.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Clemens said, via The Houston Chronicle. “I didn’t see it. I just got a couple of texts that weren’t too pleasant about it. But, yeah, that’s great if he’s taking karate to protect himself. I don’t know.

“The only thing I remember is, didn’t he chase — he needs to go get with Jesse Owens or somebody on his speed, I think. He chased some dude around the spring training site one time, didn’t he, or something?”

As Hardball Talk pointed out, Clemens is referring to the time Guillermo Mota hit Piazza with a pitch in a spring training game and Piazza tried to fight him, but he couldn’t catch up to him. Clemens then made it clear that he has no hard feelings toward Piazza.

“He’d have to stand in line,” Clemens said of Piazza wanting to fight him. “I think there was about three guys on the Yankees that wanted a piece of me more than (he) did. He’d probably have to get in line. But in all seriousness, he’s a — I’ve gotten to know him at golf events. Todd Zeile, another good guy, and Robin Ventura — I’ve been friends with him. Some of these guys, once you get to know some of them, they’re fine. But, like I said, there was no intent there.

Yeah, I highly doubt these two guys like each other. If you don’t believe me, just as Piazza’s wife — she’ll give you an honest assessment.

Mike Piazza took karate lessons to prepare for fight with Roger Clemens

Mike PiazzaMike Piazza has a new book called “Long Shot” that is being released this week, and it has received a good amount of press coverage thus far thanks to the New York media.

In the book, Piazza denies using steroids; admits to using andro, amphetamines, Vioxx, Ephedra, and Dymetadrine; expresses his disappointment with the results of the Hall of Fame voting; elaborates on the rumors about him being gay; discusses his odd reaction to signing a big contract; and talks about a conspiracy he believes Latin players had against him.

The New York Times had a good review of the book with a few quotes from Piazza mixed in, and the New York Post had even more anecdotes to share. The Post’s review includes perhaps the best nugget of all: Piazza admits he took karate classes to prepare for a potential revenge fight with Roger Clemens for a July 2000 beaning.

Clemens, then with the Yankees, started matters when he beaned Piazza in a July 8, 2000 game. Clemens apparently called the Mets dugout during the game to apologize, but Piazza told him to stick it.

“I grabbed [the phone], threw it and said, ‘Tell him to go f–k himself,’” Piazza says in the book.

According to the Post’s review of the book, Piazza says he began “taking karate lessons and visualizing the next time” he and Clemens would go at it.

“I would approach with my fist pulled back. I figured he’d throw his glove out for protection. I’d parry the glove and then get after it,” Piazza writes.

The next incident between the men occurred during Game 2 of the World Series when Clemens splintered Piazza’s bat and chucked one of the pieces at the Mets catcher. The revenge fight never materialized for Piazza.

“There were complications,” he recalls. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”

Now that’s a damn shame. Had he gone through with his plans, we could have seen a repeat of Chan Ho Park’s spinning kick on Tim Belcher. I’m thinking that reading this book might be worth it just based on this story alone. As for Piazza’s wife’s thoughts on the matter, well, those are pretty notable too.

Roger Clemens responds to Hall of Fame vote with Twitter note in odd font

Roger Clemens received just 37.6 percent of the necessary 75 percent to make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first appearance on the ballot. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner probably thought he was taking the high road when he shared a note over Twitter about the matter on Wednesday, but he still came off seeming bitter.

The note was every bit as funny as Clemens saying he “misremembers” while being investigated for steroids use. It was also notably written in some sort of funky font you would expect out of an elementary school kid.

roger clemens hall of fame note

You know that it has to sting a guy like Clemens to not get in. He and others may say otherwise, but making it into the Hall of Fame is exactly why these guys push so hard in training and on the field. Clemens didn’t work his butt off his entire career only to be shut down by some nerdy writers with calculators and pocket protectors who don’t “look at the facts.” You better believe he wants his name immortalized on a plaque inside that museum.

Roger Clemens reportedly sold real estate to provide for family in case he went to jail

Roger Clemens never wavered over the past several years in defending himself against steroid accusations. His attorney, Rusty Hardin, insisted no reasonable jury would have enough evidence to convict Clemens of perjury, and Hardin wound up being right when The Rocket was acquitted over the summer. However, it would seem that there was a time when Clemens wasn’t fully confident in what the future held.

According to the NY Daily News, Clemens sold real estate before his trial over the summer with the intention of liquidating some of his assets to provide for his wife and children in the event that he was sentenced to federal prison. Steven Kaufman, the president of the mortgage company that bought a building in which Clemens’ charity was housed, reportedly said that Clemens and his partners sold the property because the former MLB pitcher was preparing for the worst.

“They moved out in preparation of his pending verdict,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman said his company, Zeus Mortgage in Houston, closed on the building on June 8 — just 10 days before Clemens was acquitted of six perjury-related counts.

Naturally, a spokeswoman for Clemens’ charity denied that the move had anything to do with the trial and said the organization moved to another site because it was “more convenient” to combine its warehouse and office spaces.

Liquidating assets to protect his family does not necessarily mean Clemens was admitting any sort of guilt. You never know what can happen in a trial. This was a trial in which two jurors were dismissed for falling asleep, so strange things were already happening. Then again, Jose Canseco even said Clemens never took steroids. What more did he need to prove his innocence?

Photo credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Astros owner Jim Crane open to having Roger Clemens make a start this season

Roger Clemens may be 50 years old and five years removed from baseball, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing his career. Clemens is scheduled to pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League on Saturday, and if the rumors are true The Rocket still has some pretty nasty stuff in his arsenal. If he performs well this weekend and is interested in returning to the MLB, the Astros just might have him.

Astros owner Jim Crane told FOX 26 Sports on Thursday that he is open to the idea of having Clemens make a start for Houston this season. Sounds like a major publicity stunt for the worst team in baseball, doesn’t it? Crane insists that wouldn’t be the case.

“If it goes alright (with Sugar Land) and he comes to us, we’ll talk to baseball about it at length,” Crane said. “The only thing we don’t want to do is make it a publicity stunt. If we did it, I want to try and take it and turn it into a positive, which would be Roger’s doing it for the good of baseball. The extra proceeds on the game might go to the (Astros’) community charity deal to build (baseball) fields, do something positive out of it.”

If you’re making a baseball decision that has nothing to do with winning a baseball game, it’s always going to be viewed as a publicity stunt in some capacity. Raising money for charities would be nice, but the Astros would be lying if they said they aren’t desperate to sell tickets and salvage something from their abysmal season.

“I think the fans might like it,” Crane continued. “It might be fun and certainly get a few people in the ballpark. I don’t see anything negative about that, but the Astros wouldn’t want to do it for the money, the extra gate or anything like that.”

Would a sell out during a season in which your team ranks in the bottom four in the league in attendance be nice, Jim? You bet it would be.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo via Sugar Land Skeeters

Roger Clemens to pitch for independent Sugar Land Skeeters; Astros scouted him

Roger Clemens is attempting a pitching comeback, and the Houston Astros might be interested in him.

Clemens worked out for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the South Atlantic League on Monday, and the Astros’ scouting director was in attendance, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

The 50-year-old reportedly hit 87mph on his fastball and showed good command with his breaking stuff. That was enough to convince the Skeeters to sign the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.

“Roger came to work out for us today, and we were very impressed,” said Tal Smith, who is a special advisor for the Sugar Land Skeeters and former president of the Astros.

“He had great command of all his pitches and we couldn’t be more excited about this signing,” Smith said in a press release.

The Astros bullpen catcher caught Clemens and said his splitter was still nasty. Clemens is scheduled to make his first start with the Skeeters on Saturday.

Rosenthal raises the possibility that the Astros could consider signing Clemens to pitch when rosters expand next month because he would be a box office draw. I frankly don’t think it would be a bad idea. I know if Clemens made it back to the big leagues I sure as heck would want to see how he could do at his age.

Another thing to consider is that Clemens may want to pitch again in the majors because it would postpone his appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot. Players are eligible for Hall of Fame voting five years after playing their last big-league game. Clemens will be on the ballot in 2013 and would likely not be seen favorably because of his ties to PED-usage. This might be a way to postpone the embarrassment that would come with receiving a low percentage of votes.

Photo via Sugar Land Skeeters