February 16, 2007
Earlier this week there was speculation about where Roger Clemens would play this year -- with the Astros, the Yankees, or the Red Sox? According to the latest reports (see MLB.com), however, it seems that he may be ready to retire after all. He said in a TV interview that there is only a 20 percent chance that he will play, for whatever that's worth. The fact that Andy Pettitte signed with the Yankees raised the possibility that Clemens may do so as well, but sentimental factors may have weight, which would mean Boston, where he started. If Clemens does decide to make a final (?) encore performance, he would probably sign a contract a month or two after the season begins. He has said that playing for a non-contending team (a pointed reference to the Astros) would be a "waste of time." Daniel Drezner has been following this saga, and includes an amusing YouTube video clip of an ESPN ad with Clemens and Keith Olbermann.
The big change for the Nationals as spring training begins is the arrival of their new manager, Manny Acta. He is excited but a little nervous, saying it was the biggest day of his professional career, and he has been preparing for it for 20 years. Chad Cordero said the pitching staff got the message that, whatever the current challenges, the new boss wants to win. See Washington Post.
The Nationals' first baseman Nick Johnson hopes to be back in the lineup by June, but wants to give his leg plenty of time to heal. He expressed frustration about how long the rehabilitation has taken during the winter, and he has had some minor follow-up surgery. To fill the void at first base, the Nationals have acquired Travis Lee, who played for the Devil Rays last year, and Dmitri Young, who was released by the Tigers just before they went to the postseason. Both are fair-to-middling veterans. See MLB. The Nationals desperately need star sluggers in their lineup, so I hope Nick returns as soon as his body is ready to handle the stress -- but not a minute sooner.
The Giants have signed Barry Bonds to a one-year contract worth $15.8 million. The agreement they reached in December was [not finalized because of differences over the specific terms and the renewed dope allegations in January. With only 22 home runs to go before he reaches Hank Aaron's record of 755, we can anticipate a sour, melancholy day in the annals of baseball history some time in July or thereabouts.]
Baseball fans who don't often read my main blog page should be aware of a new blog feature that I am testing: an RSS feed. That makes it easier to keep up with the latest blog postings and news items from various sources. Developing that feature, making some reformatting changes, and taking on new outside responsibilities have forced me to postpone work on revising stadium diagrams, but there will be at least one or two later this month. Thanks for your patience!