Last year, Roger Clemens made noise when he returned to active baseball with the Skeeters, the western-most member of the Atlantic League—widely considered the top independent league in minor league baseball. With a population of nearly 82,000, Sugar Land is located approximately 24 miles southwest of Houston.
Last season, when Roger Clemens started against the Bluefish in Texas, the game became such a ballyhooed event that ESPN Classic televised it live to a national audience. And now, the man coined “The Rocket” for his wicked fastball (which often found its way millimeters from opposing batters' chins), has finally made his way to the Park City—albeit as a spectator.
Clemens, whose numbers support a first-ballot entry into the Hall of Fame, but whose reputation has been tarnished along with the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Raphael Palmeiro and many other baseball players in the still-ongoing performance-enhancing substance scandal, was spotted at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard last night, and is expected to throwing batting practice tonight. Clemens' son, Koby, is the Skeeters' starting catcher.
An eighth round draft pick of Houston Astros in 2005, Koby Clemens reached the AAA level with the Astros before joining the Toronto organization last year. In 2009, while playing for the Lancaster (Calif.) JetHawks of the Class A California League, Clemens led the league in hitting with a .345 average, and drove in 123 runs—the most in all of minor league baseball. The following season, he led AA Corpus Christi in several offensive categories, including home runs (26) and RBI (85), and was ultimately named Corpus Christi’s Co-Player of the Year. Currently, Koby Clemens ranks fourth in the Atlantic League in homers with 21, and has driven in 60 runners—12th best in the league.
First pitch tonight is slated for 7:05 p.m., but the Bluefish are urging fans to arrive early to catch a glimpse of The Rocket throwing batting practice. The Skeeters will be taking BP at 4:30, and gates will open at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
In addition, the Bluefish are offering a special deal for fans. The Rocket has a suite reserved for the game and fans are invited to purchase a ticket in one of the adjacent suites for $40. The price includes personal waiter/waitress service and indoor/outdoor seating.
Finally, the Bluefish will be raffling off Clemens autographed baseballs throughout the game for charity. For more information, call (203) 210-BLUE (2583), or visit www.bridgeportbluefish.com.