Jonny Gomes’ attitude may be great but his bat and glove aren’t helping the Braves

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Before the season began there were a TON of articles in Atlanta media talking about how great a clubhouse presence Jonny Gomes would be, how he brought grit and blue collar attitude and all of that jive. And, to be fair, the Braves probably needed some of that jive, as they were a pretty lackadaisical team last season.

I suspected that once the rubber hit the road and the Braves began to lose a lot of games — or once Gomes showed that, no, he’s not good enough to be a regular player anymore — that the Gomes love would stop. It did for spell, but since the Braves are hovering around .500 and, because the Mets and Nats have stumbled lately and the Braves are only three and a half games out, the meme is back in full force. Use today’s AJC to fill out your “grit” bingo card:

Gomes had that effect on Boston and Red Sox Nation, where his hustle and blue-collar attitude were greatly appreciated, along with his overt patriotism and front-and-center role in helping Boston sports teams and citizens come together – Boston Proud — and get through the trauma many felt from the Boston Marathon finish-line bombing in 2013.

The bearded outfielder became a galvanizing presence with the Red Sox, a team that already had iconic David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, but quickly embraced Gomes’ fiery enthusiasm and indefatigable optimism. Along with his right-handed power and flair for dramatic pinch-hit homers.

All of which is followed up by Braves teammates singing his praises and lauding his grit and hustle, just the way you’d expect them to. And I don’t doubt for one second that he’s great to have around if you’re a Braves player. All of his teammates have always talked about his presence and attitude and all of that.

But the fact is that he’s hitting .210/.294/.328 and plays poor defense in left field which costs the Braves on a regular basis. He has one decent skill left besides the rah-rah and that’s reaching base against lefties. Yet Fredi Gonzalez has given him twice as many plate appearances against righties than lefties and he’s dragging the team down as a result.

Braves: you may love Gomes, but he either (a) needs to be a coach; or (b) needs to be used strictly against lefties. Because all of the gritty grit in the world doesn’t replace actual production, no matter how loudly you praise it in the local media.

Roger Clemens says he’s not running for Congress

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Apparently some people in Texas wanted Roger Clemens to run for Congress? At least enough people to where Clemens felt it necessary to tell Pete Olson, the congressman whose seat is going vacant due to his retirement, that, no, he had no interest in running for it.

From ESPN:

“The climate in politics at this time is much more than I would want to undertake, along with my family considerations,” Clemens said in a message to Olson that was obtained by ABC News.

“I am a Republican and I support our President and will continue to do so,” Clemens said. “No matter who our President may be, I will continue my support of them and root for them to be successful, just as I did when President Obama was in office.”

That’s a pretty diplomatic answer from Clemens. But even if he did not have family concerns and even if the “climate” disinterested him, I’m struggling to imagine Clemens as a viable political candidate in the first place.

For as good a pitcher as he was — and for as generally popular as he may be in Texas — the guy has some serious baggage, right? And I mean that beyond just the broad arc of the PEDs controversy that surrounded him for so long. The specifics of that controversy spun off his indictment for perjury before Congress, for example. He was acquitted — and I think it was a proper acquittal — but that was not exactly his finest hour.

It also led to a nasty battle of defamation lawsuits with a drug dealer that, remarkably, caused Clemens to come off way worse than the drug dealer, and that’s quite a trick. That whole process also revealed that he had an extraordinarily problematic extra-marital relationship with a now-dead country music singer. In all, it was a profound, 100% self-inflicted, reputation-trashing, public relations disaster that, even years later, he has taken no responsibility for. It was the sort of episode that, in addition to the ammo it might give any political opponent he may have, calls into serious questions Clemens’ judgment and sense of strategy, both of which are things that, to put it lightly, can be useful in politics.

Clemens, of course, is not going to cite any of those things as a reason for not wanting to run for office, nor does he have to. His simple “no” is all he needs to say and he can go back doing whatever it is he does for the Houston Astros.

But I am struggling mightily to understand why those people who are apparently encouraging him to run for office are doing so despite all of that being out there on the record. Is fame all that matters in politics now? Is a win bought by fame the be-all and end-all, even it means electing a candidate who is profoundly compromised both ethically and morally?

Haha, just kidding. You don’t need to answer that. I think we already know the answer.