Con Man Will Pitch In Texas. Although the TCM said for more than a year he'd retire after the 2003 season, he signed a $5 million, one-year contract with the Houston Astros today. ... Brian Cashman: "I am surprised. There was never any 'I'm 90 percent retired,' or '99 percent retired.' It was always communicated he wanted to go out a Yankee." George Steinbrenner: "He told the world he was retiring, and we had no choice but to believe him." Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker praised "his charisma, character, credibility"; character and credibility?!?
I'll let Pumpsie speak: "Let us review...for posterity's sake. Roger played for the Red Sox and now most Red Sox fans hate him with a passion as the Texas Con Man. Roger played for the Blue Jays and now most Blue Jay fans hate him with a passion a money-grubbing, backdoor deal-making liar. Roger played for the Yankees, and now most Yankee fans will hate him with a passion as a fake and phony. ... Clemens is a pathological liar and a bully. He always lies. He's lied his entire career. He lied when he said he wanted to remain a member of the Red Sox, wouldn't sign with an AL East team and wanted to be closer to his family ... He lied when he signed his Toronto contract, the one with the illegal side agreement "escape clause." He lied shamefacedly when he said that he didn't throw at Mike Piazza or that he thought, the second time around, that the broken bat was a ball ... He lied when he allowed Yankee fans, and all the fans he played before last year to go on believing that that was his last year, phony standing ovation after phony standing ovation."
The Gray Eagle agrees: "You can always rely on Fat Billy from Ohio to make a chump out of anyone who gives him a standing ovation. Sox fans who stood and applauded him for beating their team in a pennant race, because he was "retiring"? Chumps. Yankee fans who stood and applauded him after he was knocked out of the box by their hated rivals in Game 7 of the ALCS? Chumps. ... Applaud this fraud at your own risk. When he makes chumps out of you, you will have no one to blame but yourselves."
Yankee fans vent. ... SoSH poster amh03 says that during the press conference, Clemens "did not speak to the fans of NY." ... Same as it ever was. ... Kevin Millar says that any rift between him and Nomar over Millar's ESPN comments about playing with Alex Rodriguez has been smoothed over. That's one less "story" for the Boston media to focus on in Ft. Myers. ... The clause in Curt Schilling's contract calling for a $2 million raise in salary when the Red Sox win the World Series is illegal, but since MLB originally told Boston the clause was fine, it will remain. ... The Boston Baseball Writers voted Jason Varitek the MVP of the 2003 Red Sox. ... The New Face of Evil, Part II.
I couldn't stand him when he was playing right field for the Yankees, but suddenly Paul O'Neill is looking pretty good. In a new book, he claims the Bush Administration began planning an invasion of Iraq within days of Bush's inauguration in January 2001 (60 Minutes transcript here). Xymphora has a good overview, as usual. Also check out this article in Time. It's clear Bush has as much power in the White House as his wife Laura does. ... Dick Cheney calls the decision to invade Iraq "perfectly justified... I don't have any qualms at all about the decisions that were made." Of course not. No one he knows will be killed or lose a limb(s) and Halliburton, his former company (of which he is still on the payroll, despite his denials) will rake in billions. ... The media was AWOL on the WMD story ... From the Carnegie Endownment for International Peace: "WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications" (111 pages/PDF).