I guess it worked.
When I arrived to our weekly wiffleball game, it was the first thing anybody brought up to me. I got an e-mail from my boss, a Yankee fan, with the subject "a very special day." And I've seen that still shot of the scoreboard from Yankee Stadium -- Roger Clemens is a Yankee -- about as many times as dollars Clemens will make per pitch ($8,888) this year.
As far as wagging the dog is concerned, Steinbrenner has done it again. With three or four sentences from baseball's biggest jerkface, the entire nation has forgotten exactly how poor this Yankees team is. Clemens' return, for sure, helped the Yankees win the World Series of PR for the year. Though the team claims they thought it would be a "nice touch" for the fans in attendance, the decision (and the method of announcement) was more concerned with how the Yankees/Clemens would be remembered, not the fans doing the remembering. Will it help them win any more games on the field, though?
I don't care how much cream you're smearing on your skin, what kinda concoction is being squirted up your arm. Clemens is 45. There comes a time -- Keith Richards aside -- when time trumps any chemical solution. And judging by the atmosphere in the Bronx lately, where Murphy's Law is practically scratched into the mound, this year is as an appropriate one as any other for Clemens to fail miserably, get busted for steroids, or both.
And what happens then? If you thought bringing Philip Hughes up in April was a sign of desperation, what's this? If Clemens goes belly-up, the Yankees will have officially exhausted all of their options. Moves like this are why the Yankees are where they are in the first place. It's not that the team has lost its talent -- judging by their payroll, they should have talent in spades -- but it's a team more concerned with the "Yankee way" than winning games. Sure, they want to win, but they want to win on their terms. They don't have the desire to play small-ball when necessary, to sprint out grounders, to scrap like out-of-nowhere teams like Detroit. They don't have any spirit.
Will Clemens solve this? How much spirit do you think a guy who intentionally sits out the beginning half of the season to "be fresher in September" (read: avoid spring training) and won't travel to road games has? He's another hired gun.
It's time to face facts: the Yankees dynasty of the late-'90s and early-'00s is irrelevant. The sooner they recognize this, the better. Pulling up Hughes might have been a forced move, but at least they looked towards the future. Signing Clemens is just pulling back for a piece of that glorious past, except, in the words of Nate Fisher, "It's already gone."