Also absent from Stadium celebration: Roger Clemens

Taking a look at 2008 draftee Brett Marshall
Stealing from the stadium

One of the notable stories from yesterday was the absence of Joe Torre and Don Mattingly from the pre-game ceremonies on Sunday. Since they’re both with the Dodgers, it’s understandable why they did not appear in person. Donnie got mentioned along with the first basemen, though not announced by Kay or Sterling, and Torre’s name wasn’t uttered. Yet there was another Yankee from the dynasty years who went unnoticed last night: Roger Clemens. Why would the Yankees snub a player who is only one year removed from his last stint in Pinstripes?

They were afraid the fans would boo him.

“They didn’t want boos to be the last memory of Roger at the Stadium,” a source familiar with preparations for the last game told the Daily News.

While I’m not one for blindly trusting an anonymous Daily News source, this seems likely. Most people I know aren’t too fond of Clemens right now, be it because of his breakdown late last year, or because of his grandstanding amid steroid accusations and perjury charges. So there had to be legitimate concern over the reception he’d receive from fans.

When asked, Brian Cashman wiped his hands of the situation:

“Roger was a great Yankee and did a tremendous job here and we’re proud of the work he did here,” general manager Brian Cashman said Monday. “I can’t speak to why he wasn’t involved in the video tribute. I wasn’t part of any meetings.

“There’s a lot of controversy surrounding him right now, but that doesn’t change the kind of person he was when he was here. He’s special in my book, whether they showed a video clip of him or not.”

Team spokesman Howard Rubenstein also attempted to defuse the situation, saying that the snub of Torre and Clemens was not intentional:

“A lot of great Yankees were not mentioned,” Yankee spokesman Howard Rubenstein said of Clemens and Torre. “There was no slight intended and perhaps both of them should have been mentioned during the celebration.”

Sorry, but I’m not buying that one bit. To lump Clemens and Torre in with Yankees not mentioned just isn’t fair. Say what you will about Clemens, and I know there will be differing opinions, but you can’t just say that some people weren’t mentioned as an explanation for Joe Torre. And yes, perhaps both should have gotten a mention for their contributions to multiple World Championships.

Honestly, do you think that the fans would have booed had Clemens been present, or even recognized? I’m not sure that would have been the case. Fans might hold contempt towards the man, but Sunday night was not one rife for booing. I assume fans would have clapped out of respect for the man and his achievements. Booing would have just been out of place.

Taking a look at 2008 draftee Brett Marshall
Stealing from the stadium
  • steve (different one)

    some points:

    1. they booed a-rod. at least a few did. so your last line seems a little off

    2. they should have mentioned Torre in some way, but it’s not like there was a montage of managers. if they had done that and ommitted Torre, that would have been criminal. but they probably should have done something in some way.

    3. Clemens? uhhh. i’m not sure how i would have handled it either. i think i would have put him in the montage and showed him briefly. but this off-season was REALLY REALLY ugly for Roger, and it really brought a lot of shame upon the franchise. still, Giambi made the cut. i can see it either way.

    • Joseph P.

      It seemed that the cheers far outshined the boos, though. I think the same would have been true for Roger.

      • Ed

        I think the fact that we’re having this discussion says that the fear would be justified. I’d be willing to bet Roger would get more boos than A-Rod would. Would the cheers outweigh the boos? I have no idea, and I don’t think the Yankees were very comfortable with whatever answer they came up with to that.

      • Nady Nation

        Gotta disagree here. There are always going to be a few idiots who will boo A-Rod bc of his unclutchness or whatever given the amount of money he’s making. Clemens cheated the game, and I think a majority of the fans, both rational and irrational, were very pissed off by that. Booing him and booing A-Rod are two completely different scenarios. You can say what you want about innocence until proven guilty, but it’s not like Clemens has done anything to clear his name in recent months, more like he’s just laid low hoping this all will go away in the near future so he can move on with his life. Of course there was that whole barrage of “legal action” (if you wanna call it that) that he took at the beginning of this whole disaster, but there are barely any pieces of evidence pointing to his innocence, and I’m sure most fans see him as a liar and a cheat at this point.

        • Nady Nation

          Should have mentioned somewhere in my rant about how Clemens never just admitted his guilt and apologized to the fans, which other players who were honored and cheered in the ceremony have done (Giambi, Andy, Knoblauch)

        • Ed

          What evidence is there against Clemens? DNA degrades very quickly, so an old gauze pad and a used syringe stored for 10 years in someone’s basement isn’t going to provide any evidence, even if it is legit.

          It’s entirely Clemens’s word vs McNamee’s.

          • Steve

            “What evidence is there against Clemens? DNA degrades very quickly, I know this from a statutory rape case that was filed against me back when I was a High School Gym teacher. So an old gauze pad and a used syringe stored for 10 years in someone’s basement isn’t going to provide any evidence, even if it is legit. Believe me, I know this for a fact, I would have been posting this from Lebenworth if it wasn’t the case. It’s entirely Clemens’s word vs McNamee’s.”

            Fixed that for ya.

            • Ed

              What the hell was that about?

              If you’ve even taken a high school biology class you’d know that DNA degrades very quickly.

    • jsbrendog

      good point about there not being a manager one… takwe that as you will

  • radnom

    Some people would have booed Roger. There was a really really good chance of that.

  • pat

    Im torn about the whole roger situation. Obviously he comes off as a scum bag because of how he looked in front of the congressional panel.but at the same time he was probably doing the steroids while helping us win a few world series.

  • Chris

    Did they mention any past managers? Not just Joe Torre, but Casey Stengle, Billy Martin, etc. Billy Martin was mentioned as a second baseman, and they referenced his managing, but I don’t remember any of the managers getting special treatment.

    • steve (different one)

      no, they didn’t.

      they had Miller Huggins are part of the Field of Dreams thing.

      Piniella and Martin were shown as players.

      still, they could have mentioned Torre somehow.

    • Rich

      I think Miller Huggins led the parade and was introduced of fake players at the beginning of the ceremony.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Yeah, but they never did a video montage dedicated to managers as they did for each different position, nor did they have a portion after such a video montage where they brought out a few old managers, as they did with the players.

  • Yank Crank 20

    Anybody who would show up at Yankee Stadium for the final game and could honestly say they would have wasted time booing players didn’t deserve to be there. Obviously, it wasn’t a night for booing flawed players.

    1) Knoblauch (spelling?) was shown on a video clip and cheered despite his steroid allegations and inability to throw a baseball 60 feet accurately.
    2) Pettitte was given a very respectful curtain call despite his terrible season and admitted steroid use.

    Despite Roger’s allegations and probably steroid use, he was a huge part of our winning teams from 99-03. The final game was a time for celebration and appreciation, and if Knob and Pettitte got it I would have to think Roger would have been received in the same manner. I was on the first base line for the final game and Roger not being mentioned made me very upset.

    • steve (different one)

      good point about Knoblaugh, forgot about that angle.

      • Yank Crank 20

        Thanks steve

        • Nady Nation

          While you raise a fair point, I think you also have to consider the differences between Pettitte/Knoblauch and Clemens. Both Andy and Knobby admitted their use and apologized to the organization and the fans. The American public is a very forgiving group of people. Clemens, on the other hand, led a circus act in a desperate attempt to salvage his completely tarnished reputation. He went as far as to throw his wife under the bus with her HGH use before even admitting to his own, and all he could care about was keeping his name clean. Meanwhile, he didn’t bring one piece of legit evidence to the table to support his innocence. I think his reputation now as a liar and an abrasive jerk would have had a negative impact had he been mentioned in the ceremony, as well as his ties to performance enhancing drugs.

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Without personal knowledge of the planning of the event, if I was in their shoes, I think I’d be less concerned with the “will they boo” issue than I would be with simply bringing up the conversation about Clemens. Sunday was a very high profile event for the Yankees (ESPN covered the Yankees from 1 PM through the end of the game, for crying out loud). I think they just didn’t want to bring up the Clemens conversation on a day like Sunday. And I actually think the same kind of applies as far as Torre is concerned. They wanted the pre-game ceremony to be nothing but a celebration, I think they probably just didn’t want to have people sitting there (in the stadium, on TV, or at home) discussing “well Joe Torre is going to the playoffs, I don’t like how they let him go, Torre vs. Girardi, yadda yadda.” I don’t know that I agree with the way they handled it, I’m just saying I think they handled it the way they did because they didn’t even want people to have those conversations on Sunday.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Actually, regarding that last line, I definitely don’t agree with the way they handled it.

  • Rich

    It’s reminiscent of Russia of the 80’s when people’s existence were written out of their textbooks

    • radnom

      haha a little extreme, no?

    • UWS

      Nah, they didn’t do anything as asinine as that.

      They just labeled them anti-communist and public enemies #1.

  • Yank Crank 20

    What harm would it have done to just flash a 3 second clip of Roger with the other pitchers? Did the Yanks want to wash their hands clean of possible steroid users? Well, with Pettitte and Giambi both in the starting lineup that night, it didn’t work.

    Same sentiment for Torre. He’s going to be a Hall of Fame manager one day and go in with a Yankee cap…and they wouldn’t mention him at all?

  • JeffG

    I actually had this conversation with the door person at Yankee Tavern after the game… I brought up that I though it was BS that Clemens wasn’t included. A few people ended up arguing with me on this one. Why the public is so willing to totally write some people associated with steroids off while forgiving others is a mystery to me.
    I completely respect Cashman’s statement – Roger was a special Yankee.

  • Brad K

    Roger was and is his own worst enemy. Either way the whole issue is too fresh. He would have been a lighting rod for controversy and who really needs that on the final day.

    Torre is another story but also very fresh. I have no doubt that in the end Torre will have an honored spot amongst the Yankee legends. Hopefully he will be asked and attend the formal farewell in November. I’m sure that Donnie Baseball will be there as well.

  • dkidd

    clemens never felt like a true yankee (whatever that is) and would have been booed

    snubbing torre and mattingly was completely intentional and completely petty

    • steve (different one)

      right, except Mattingly wasn’t snubbed.

      he obviously couldn’t have been at the game since he works for the Dodgers. he was in the video.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    Doesn’t Clemens have a 4 Era./Yeah he won a CY Young but Pedro was injuried that year also.

    Clemens wasn’t a Yankees but unlike A-Rod he’s stats aren’t great enough to have to say he’s name.

  • mike b.

    also wiped out of the story, Jim Leyritz. tough to recap the 1996 championship without mentioning him.

  • Gary D

    No Jake Gibbs? Steve Whitaker? Roger Repoz? The man who led the league in practice swings, Hoss Clarke? The Yanks could have brought out Mike Kekich, Fritz Peterson and their (switched) families too! I agree the opening scene of the old time Yankees in those old time uniforms was rather corny. All in all, the ceremony wasn’t really about the Satdium it was about the Yankees, and using that reasoning, the Yankees could have been champions if they’d played 85 years in the Polo Grounds.Seriously, how could there have been no mention of the Voice of the Yankees, Mel Allen, the greatest TV and radio announcer the Yanks have ever had? How about that? No offense guys, I know I’m a little older than most of you on here, but the greatest Yankees are no longer with us. They are, in the proper order, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle. Bernie Williams couldn’t hold a candle to any of those men. Sorry.

  • Hitman

    The reason why Torre and Mattingly were not mentioned is because they are no longer yankees because they’re playing on different teams now and really not worthy of being mentioned if they weren’t going to be there. This is very likely the most definitive explanation. If Randolph was still managing the Mets he wouldn’t have gotten a mention either.

  • Rick in Boston

    Mattingly was mentioned as much as Lou Pinella – but both are employed by other clubs and could not be there. It’s as simple as that.

    Torre was honored the same way that Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy were. Only Miller Huggins was honored, and that was in the corny opening.

    I’m sure once Torre isn’t managing a team on the other side of the country whose game finished just 20 minutes before the start of the Yankees game, he’ll be honored.