According to reports, Roger Clemens will enter federal prison as a member of the Boston Red Sox, picking the team he spent 13 years of his 24-year career over the Yankees, Astros and Blue Jays.
"We knew this day would come," said Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin. "We just thought it would be for the Hall of Fame."
Despite a strained relationship with his former team, Clemens forged his baseball career in Boston.
"Roger won three of his seven Cy Young awards with Boston," said his wife, Debbie. "At the same time, he started using steroids in Toronto and really had them pay off in New York and Houston. So it was a tough call for him. He's lost a lot of sleep over this decision. Also because I think he's scared of going to prison."
Clemens is facing more than a year in a federal penetentiary if convicted of lying before Congress. While he may wear a Red Sox hat to prison, it will immediately be seized by prison officials.
"That would be considered contraband," said a guard at a federal penitentiary. "He would have to wear standard prison attire like every other inmate because those are the rules and also for his own protection. Most people hate the Red Sox and would probably try to kill him. Hell, I'd probably shank him myself and I barely even follow baseball."
Any hope that minor league sports was the last bastion of loyalty and purity took a hit this week when Las Vegas 51s catcher J.P. Arencibia left the team for a bigger paycheck with the major league Toronto Blue Jays.
"It’s so disappointing to see Arencibia chase after money like that,” said Jeff Pastore, a Las Vegas season ticket holder. “Outside of saying it was his lifelong dream to make the major leagues, he always talked about wanting to win a championship. And let’s be realistic, where is he more likely to win a title: here in Triple-A with the 51s or with the Blue Jays? You know the answer. This was all about money.”
Arencibia was called up to the Blue Jays when starting catcher John Buck went on the disabled list with a cut on his hand. The 24-year-old made his major league debut Saturday against the Rays. During his stay in Toronto he will earn a pro-rated major league minimum salary of $400,000, far above what he made in Triple-A with the Las Vegas 51s.
"As long as I can remember, ever since I was a little boy, it was my one and only dream to play major league baseball,” says Arencibia. “And now that dream has come true. I am so happy. But I don’t want it to end. I want to prove I belong here and make a long career out of it.”
Las Vegas fan Margene Miller says Arencibia’s words are transparent.
“He's been here for two years," she said. "Does he have no loyalty? He didn't have to take the money Toronto was offering, you know. His greed is sickening. His only real dream since he was a kid was to get rich and screw over the people who supported him in climbing to the top. I hope he fails in Toronto.”
Arencibia says he cherished his time in Las Vegas.
"Las Vegas is a great town full of good people and I feel like I established myself as a professional there. I loved my time there and have wonderful memories,” he said. “But I would prefer to stay here in Toronto.”
“Jeez, what an asshole,” said Miller.
Despite a name that would suggest it would feature nothing but stars, Major League Baseball will reportedly include three Toronto Blue Jays players in this week's All-Star Game, a move that could possibly undermine the entire event.
The Blue Jay players selected for the game are Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista and John Buck. The MLB office insists all three are actual people and not made up players with fictional names.
"All three players are very deserving of recognition," said commissioner Bud Selig. "And, in fact, we have been featuring non-stars in the All-Star Game for years," he added, producing records showing that in years past, players from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles and other decidedly non-star-laden teams have participated.
And while the Selig's claims appear to be true, those teams that no one cares about usually only get one player in the game, not three.
"I feel really awkward being here," said Bautista, who is reportedly Toronto's third baseman. "Me? Playing alongside guys like Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols? It's humiliating. I was once let go by the Pirates. This is even worse for my self-esteem."
Selig believes that including non-marquee players like Bautista in the All-Star Game will help sell them to a large audience. But Buck, Bautista's teammate and a supposed catcher, thinks that is an ill-conceived notion.
"Trust me, I play with us every day," said Buck. "We are not very good. All this could do is embarrass us if and when we make several errors and strikeout."
The commissioner says he will consider changing the name to the Some-Stars Game during the offseason owners meetings, which reportedly and absurdly will include the owners of the Blue Jays, Pirates, Orioles and Royals.
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010.
Today: TorontoBlue Jays (2009: 75-87, 4th in AL East)