That said, we have no desire to see Clemens don another big league uniform, which is surely what this is all about. He tries to downplay this latest comeback as nothing more than a one-off, a chance to bring a little cheer to his Houston-area fans, but we're not fooled. There will surely be big league scouts in the stands Saturday night, eager to see if the Rocket has anything left in that right arm. Even if it's just enough to pitch an inning or two at a time, there would likely be a contending team with contract in hand, ready to feed his ego and sign him up for a playoff run.
"If you're going to go and play, the one thing on his mind is trying to get back to the major leagues," said Tony DeFrancesco, interim manager of the Houston Astros.
Clemens repeatedly shrugged off that sort of talk.
"I'm nowhere near where I need to be to compete the way I want," he insisted. "We just want to have some fun."
Cynically, we wonder if Clemens has other motives for going back to the mound. He's eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot this winter, but there are surely plenty of voters unwilling to put a check beside his name, innocent verdict or not. If he's turned down once, it might be easier to keep voting him down, as is the case with Mark McGwire.
But, if Clemens makes it back to the big leagues, the five-year window for Cooperstown eligibility starts over. Maybe some of the hard feelings will have softened by 2017 or 2018, especially if Clemens has tacked on one more comeback, the most improbable one of all, to his resume.
It's all too much to take.
Please, Roger, go away.
This time for good.
Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963