The Yankees’ first series this year is in Houston, and it’ll be the Yankees’ only trip to Houston, so it’ll be the first stop on the Derek Jeter farewell tour. And an old friend of Jeter’s will be playing a big part in the festivities:
The first stop on the Derek Jeter Long Goodbye Tour will be in Houston the opening series of the season. It should be one memorable tribute, especially when you consider who will be taking a large part in the event — Roger Clemens.
“Roger is going to be driving the bus,’’ Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told The Post Monday at Roger Dean Stadium. “I’m sure it will be something special.’’
Of course this is only controversial for New York media people who view baseball players as villains and heroes, with Clemens the former and Jeter the latter. Jeter played with Clemens for six seasons and won two World Series titles with him, so it makes perfect sense that he’d play a big part. As might Andy Pettitte, who lives in the Houston area and played for both the Astros and Yankees.
But, because certain segments of the New York media have decided that Jeter is the anti-PED Superman, it makes Clemens taking part in this a thing. When it shouldn’t be a thing at all.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .