Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More on Clemens (has this blog ever had more blogging?)

The fact is with Roger Clemens is that he is a baseball player. 95% of Sportsman play for a team not because they love the club but because they want to earn a good living. There are those that have dreams of playing for one team and want to be known as a great Yankee/Red Sox/Portsmouth player but they are few and far between. Players want to earn money and want success, should they be held up to the same standard that we'd like to think we'd provide? No doubt I'd like to think I'd happily play for Portsmouth for 5k a week but if Fulham came in for me at 10k a week I wouldn't be surprised if I accepted it.

As fans we'd do pretty much anything for our team and believe that the players on the field should be the same. The fact is though very few of them will and they will come and go to whoever offers them the biggest bit of silver. I have long accepted that this is the case, players come and go, manager come and go, chairmen and owners come and go but the clubs will remain.

If in a hypothetical scenario a Portsmouth player did as you described then first of all I'd go annoyed at the club for not signing him to a contract, if they did offer one and the player chose to go then that is his right. No-one should be tied down to a club beyond his contract and that is why we have free agency on baseball and the Bosman ruling in football. As long as players give their all during their time at the club then who is anyone to get annoyed when they move on?

My 3,079 Miles... colleague put forward this example, 'The analogy here for, lets say a hypothetical Portsmouth fan, is a player that Portsmouth brought through the ranks... who achieves dizzying success - one of the most sustained high level performers the sport has ever seen - but who gets stale from having been with the team for a long time... who states that he wants to move to Manchester to be nearer his family... then moves to Fulham... but who it turns out had an illegal agreement with Fulham to ship him to Southampton after a couple of seasons - you are telling me that the hypothetical Portsmouth fan would have just shrugged their shoulders?'

Most Portsmouth fans would do their nut - I wouldn't. Player plays, sees out his contract, moves on. I had the same conversation many years ago with the former editor of Spurs FTT when he was putting together a protest when Sol Campbell returned to White Hart Lane. He saw Sol's move across North London as treachery but if you are a free agent they why shouldn't you take what you think is the best deal on the table for you?

My colleague believes that I shouldn't expect rational behaviour from Sox fans but why not? He left and you won a World Series, a World Series without him.

The best bit though in all this is if the Yankees did do the improbable and win the World Series, everyone will say the Yankees went out and bought it by spending all this money on the Rocket, yet as Simmons says, 'Honestly? I don't think Clemens will be that good for the Yanks.' So we've made a bad deal and Clemens won't be very good for the Yankees, so if we win it all then it has nothing to do with our $18.5m splurge on the Rocket as he won't be very good.

And as Neil H pointed out, 'But heck I don't blame the Yankees - if the Red Sox had gone this long without a World Series I am sure we would be pretty desperate as well.' It's been six World Series since we won it all, it's an age, and if we are pretty desperate after six, how bad was Red Sox Nation waiting three generations?

Pretty damn desperate would be my guess...

1 threw a strike:

At 12:08 am, Blogger Neil H said...

I'll leave it as a comment, as we really don't need another Clemens post - but I think you are deliberately missing the point.

If Sol had gone to Fulham so that he could say he hadn't gone to Arsenal, then it was reveled he had an illegal side agreement to go to Arse all along, then the reaction from Spurs fans would have been even more off the charts than it was. If he had said after this season, I would really consider going back to Spurs, aplogize to fans, return to where it all started... and then resigned for Arsenal, the response would have been even further than even further off the charts.

You may well be that fan that thinks players owe you no loyalty, most fans, as you even state yourself, disagree. This isn't accounting, this isn't garbage collecting - this is sport, and while I don't tend to feel to passionate about who does my taxes, I do feel passionately about who plays for my team, and if you don't you are genuinely missing out on part of the sports experience.


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