I hate you, Roger Clemens.

The stadium scene.
July 12 2004 5:47 PM

Roger and Me

Why I hate the greatest pitcher of all time.

Thanks for the memories-NOT!
Thanks for the memories-NOT!

To: Roger Clemens From: A Red Sox fan Re: All-Star Game

Seth Stevenson Seth Stevenson

Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.

Dear Roger Clemens,

Let me offer my hearty congratulations on starting the All-Star Game. Wow, that is really terrific. I'd like to note, however, that I hate you.

Also: You are fat. They say you've got this hard-core training regimen, with calisthenics and whatnot. I'm not seeing it. You're wicked fat.

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Oh, perhaps that was uncalled for. You know what else was uncalled for? Sucking, every time it mattered. You ruined my childhood, fatty. Because the trauma you put me through as a young, impressionable Red Sox fan has stunted my emotional growth, I revert to a juvenile mind-set whenever I see you. Like repeatedly calling you fat.

It started, Mr. Clemens, when you left the Sox in 1996. You were in a steady decline, and seemed on the cusp of retirement. Then you signed with the Blue Jays and put up two Cy Young campaigns in a row, completely owning the league. Putz.

And here you go again. After a few good-not-great years with the Yankees, you actually did retire. ... And then suddenly unretired and re-emerged as a much better pitcher. Wow! A dominating half-season, out of nowhere, after everyone counted you out. Like we haven't seen that one before, "Rocket." Anyway, you're still fat.

But here's the real problem with your behavior: Fans like to think that players are giving it their all. All the time. I like to think that, anyway. But then I'm just a simple, good-hearted man, a man who wants to believe in heroes. How can I believe in heroes, Mr. Clemens, when the world is home to people like you? It's clear that you just try hard when you feel like it. And even then, only when there's nothing on the line. Well, that sucks, dude. You shouldn't be like that.

I'd like to add that it's not just me. Nobody likes you. It's just a matter of degree—of how much we hate you. Personally, I measure my hate in terms of how severely I want you to be injured. Like, I guess I wouldn't want to see you crippled for life, so you couldn't walk anymore. But I really wouldn't mind if you pulled your groin and missed five starts. That's the over-under on my hate.

By the way (and this has nothing to do with you, except that it involves another player I despise), did you hear Frank Deford's poetic ode to Derek Jeter? "Our guy is never at the top of the stats/ He just makes the plays and takes his at-bats … For all the hotshots there is no one neater/ than the guy who wears the deuce—the ace—Derek Jeter." My God! I mean, my God!!