Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens threw a side session in York in front of about 1,000 fans at Sovereign Bank Stadium. Clemens’ oldest son, Koby Clemens, caught the session.
Here’s the story and a video of his interview with the beat reporters.
The following are quotes from a day at the park:
On possibly pitching a game that his son catches: “I want (Koby) chasing his dreams.”
“Koby’s got some time, and with the experience he has … this (the Atlantic League) will be another venue another option for him, we’ll just see what happens.”
KOBY CLEMENS (oldest son of Roger)
On catching one of his father’s games with Sugar Land: “It’s just not in the cards, I’m signed with the Blue Jays. Depending on what happens, I could become a free agent five days after the World Series. … I hope that management and higher ups (with the Jays) give me another opportunity and maybe a better opportunity next year.”
TAL SMITH (Skeeters senior advisor/former Astros president)
“If the name Roger Clemens wasn’t associated with it, you wouldn’t believe it. But when you say Roger Clemens is doing it, it takes on a whole lot more believe-ability. … When Roger Clemens sets out to do something, he succeeds. It’s an unbelievable story for someone else, but not for Roger.
“The thing that really makes him so successful is … his baseball acumen. He’s been a power pitcher. he may not have quite as much power today but he’s still a pitcher.
“I think he could pitch in the major leagues: Yes.
“Now if you’re saying can he go in a regular five man rotation in the heat of a pennant race? I don’t know whether that’s realistic.
“But if you’re asking me if he could pitch a week or two weeks from now at the major league level, yes I think he could.”
JOE KLEIN (Atlantic League executive director)
“We’ve had Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Jose Lima and Ruben Sierra, but I don’t think anyone has created the buzz that Roger Clemens has. We were talking this morning, and we were wondering who’s been a better pitcher than Roger Clemens? All the guys you and I have read about, but for what we’ve seen in our lifetimes, almost nobody has had more of an impact than Roger.
“He’s all in as far as this is concerned. I hope that whatever he has behind this, comes true.”
Asked about why he thinks Clemens is doing this: “It’s the allure of the game. Ellie Rodriguez (a former Yankees catcher and Atlantic League official) and I talk about this all the time.”
GARY GAETTI (Skeeters manager)
“I had contacted Roger before the season started about Koby playing for us. … (The conversation continued, and) “I said, ‘You know what Roger, I’m just offering you a contract right now, because I’ve got nobody to pitch right now.’
“A couple times I’d contact him to say my offer still stands.
“After the trial, I sent him congratulations.
“He had it mapped out and scheduled what he wanted to do.
“I knew it was going to be exciting, fun and a lot of exposure for the league, but he came out and gave me a good start and helped me win a ballgame and that’s what it’s all about.
Asked to talk about how difficult it is to toss 3 1/3 scoreless innings: “I would have to say, we have numerous guys that have big league experience on our own team now. (Tim Redding, Scott Kazmir and Jason Lane.) They will tell you, if you let your guard down in this league, you are done. There’s a lot of good players, good hitters and good pitchers. For whatever reason they’re in this league, but this league is as good as any Triple-A league or team I’ve been involved with. Just like Roger said, You better be ready or you’re going to get your rear end handed to you.
“Nothing he does surprises me. … My expectations were all over the board, but he being who he is would not take it lightly. From now on, it doesn’t matter what happens. He did exactly what I expected, maybe more … it’s been great.”
PETER KIRK (ODP chairman)
“It’s one of the most surprising things I’ve ever seen. When Roger, Gary Gaetti and Michael Kirk cooked this up, I knew it would be huge in Texas. But the national attention has been phenomenal. It’s brought the Atlantic League a lot of exposure. … We’re proud of the 600 players who have gone from the Atlantic League to major league organizations. We’ve been doing this for 15 years, but people now know about the Atlantic League that would have never heard about the league.”
BROOKS ROBINSON (minority owner of Revs/Skeeters, Hall of Famer)
“Being a part owner of the team, I just wanted to come up and see what was happening. I had never met Roger before. … It really worked out well, we had all our sponsors around. And it’s going to help the league. Not a lot of people understand independent baseball is all about, and this will provide a little recognition.
“This guy is 50 years old and he still wants to pitch in the big leagues, I know that.
“It still remains to be seen how he does. I played till I was 40, I could field and throw guys out as good as anyone playing. I just couldn’t get the bat around. … Roger he’s trying to find out what he can do. It will be interesting how he does. He wants to pitch in the big leagues. … I’ll tell you what, I predict he’ll pitch for the Astros before the end of the year.”