After the US team tangled up his carefully-staged retirement plans by failing to qualify for the 2004 Olympics, Roger Clemens made the best of the second-best that baseball could offer him.
Never my favorite Yankee, Clemens deserves every congratulation for representing the best of the USA in the World Baseball Classic. On March 10, when Team USA faced elimination after losing unexpectedly to Canada, Clemens inspired confidence as he took the mound after testing his form against Astros’ minor leaguers by special permission late in February. Everyone knew he would throw himself into highest gear, and with 58 pitches he allowed only one hit from the acknowledgedly lacking South African team. Starting early and scoring 17 runs by the end of the 5th when the game was called for "mercy," the rest of the team assured his win. What could have been his last game was a prelude to at least one more, most likely against Mexico on Thursday, March 16.