Friday, November 30, 2007

Pettitte's Decision

The whole Andy Pettitte thing intrigues me. While it seems like he's been around forever, he is still only 35, and his 2007 season, while not transcendent, fits quite nicely with those he posted back when the Yankees won the World Series every year. Based on the comments of his father in this story, however, it seems that he is leaning towards calling it quits in order be a stay-at-home dad, hunt, and chill out.

Which is cool. The guy has made close to $100M in his career, so why not take the time to enjoy his family and his life? Heck, I'm surprised more players don't retire a bit early these days for exactly that reason. Sure, the competitive juices flow and everything, but for every five guys who wouldn't know what to do with their lives without baseball, there has to be one or two who have developed greater interests by the time they're in their mid 30s. Guys who, rings or not, feel like they've accomplished enough in that phase of their life and want to see what's next.

But then you're reminded that Pettitte and Roger Clemens are good buddies and, according to the article, used to spend the offseason in "intense workouts." That could cut a couple of ways, I suppose. Maybe Clemens was Pettitte's master motivator and now that Rocket appears to be done, Pettitte can't bring himself to get ready to play ball again either.

A second possibility is that Clemens is such an inspiration to him that Pettitte is now going to start a gun-for-hire phase of his career like Roger did the past couple of seasons, getting wildly overpaid for being something less than an ideal teammate simply because owners get desperate around Memorial Day and will do almost anything to add an extra arm. I like Pettitte, so I hope that's not true, but he'd get more money doing that than going to Florida in February and running wind sprints.

Or maybe those offseason workouts with Clemens will somehow come under far more scrutiny once the Mitchell Report comes out and he doesn't want to deal with the fallout. Hey, I'm in prime conspiracy theory mode here so take it with a grain of salt, but the last time we heard about a couple of players spending the offseason together working out it was Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield.

Baseless speculation aside, seeing what happens to Pettitte between now and Opening Day is going to be one of the more interesting stories to watch.


Pete Toms said...

Craig, I'm in conspiracy mode also.

Arte Moreno on Mitchell. "The names of players will come out that people will be mad about,"

I have to think that means star players will be named, not the Serafini's of pro ball.

Is Clemens one of those names? We all know the rumors that he is one of the names on the redacted Grimsley affadavit.

God I hope so, I can't stand Clemens.

Shyster said...

I'm not a Clemens fan either, Pete, though my dislike of him has far more to do with stuff besides steroid whipsers. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that I hope he's on the list -- actually, I'm not going to be happy with any names if what people are saying is true about how there will be no discussion of ownership, union, and MLB acquiesence or willful blindness in getting us where we are today -- but I wouldn't lose faith in humanity or anything if he was.

I hate to go further than I already have with this -- again, this is just baseless speculatin', not any informed claim about Pettitte -- but Pettitte is the kind of name that, as Arte says, "people would get mad about." Others that fall into this category: Jeter, Ortiz, Vlad, and A-Rod (oh, God, there isn't enough ink in the world). Basically, any big name that hasn't already been talked about is going to cause people to chatter.

Pete Toms said...

My dislike of Clemens has nothing to do with PED's either, it's all about his ego and the Piazza stuff. More the former.

I'm reading the same stuff about Mitchell - in particular Maury Brown - that MLB & the PA will get off lightly. I'm with you and Maury, if that is the case it is BS.

I'm not surprised though, I have been speculating that Mitchell won't excoriate the players as a whole, after all they are the product. We know Mitchell's credentials as a "company man".

Jeff Blair recently wrote that he expected Mitchell to be an "industry mea culpa". I'm in agreement.

Osmodious said...

Oh, GAWD, not the Piazza thing again! Geez, didn't anybody watch the replays of the bat thing from the alternate angles?
As to the original beaning, well, Clemens pitches inside and Piazza's stance has him leaning in with his head way down, so a rising fastball that tails in is going to be an issue...does this absolve Clemens, by no means, but I have to say that I think he wasn't gunning for the guy's head (though I'm also sure he wasn't going to be too concerned about it if he did hit him).

Please don't read this as any kind of defense of Clemens in general. I can take or leave the guy...I WILL say, though, that many of the best pitchers throughout the history of the game had a reputation for, ahem, 'protecting the plate'. A lot of them threw at guys intentionally when they felt the need to (Ryan being the epitome of this...and Clemens' hero to boot).

Back to the topic(s) at hand: I would love to see Pettitte come back, just because he is a really solid guy. He brings something besides quality pitching. Part of it is his class, part his team spirit. He just comes across as one of the few guys in the game who will take personal responsibility for his performance. Now, I think there are a lot of Yankee fans who think that he has earned the right to string the Yankees along and, ultimately, turn them down (especially with what the Yanks did to him before he decided to leave last time)...or to retire while he's still a great pitcher.

I'd be VERY surprised to see his name come up in any PED documents, though if Clemens' name was also there I wouldn't be quite SO surprised (he gained a TON of muscle that 1st winter working out with Clemens...and 3-4mph on his fastball). Disappointed, yes. It will be interesting to see how the Mitchell report provides the names (and if the proof is included). Just because there is suspicion, it doesn't mean the players did it...and if it just lists guys because of the Mets batboy, that will be just plain wrong.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we're not going to get a chance to debate Pettitte's playing status but that doesn't mean we can't speculate on his PED usage.