|Where everybody knows you hate|
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist
[While ROGER CLEMENS takes the mound in New York for another attempt at his 300th career victory, NORM PETERSON walks into a cozy Boston bar where he is so enthusiastically greeted that it seems everyone knows his name.]
WOODY BOYD: How's it hanging, Mr. Peterson?
SAM MALONE: C'mon, Norm, you're not still upset that Duquette let Clemens leave as a free agent seven years ago?
NORM: No, I'm upset he wasn't general manager when Vera became a free agent. What kind of world is it, Sammy, where Clemens never returns and Vera stays forever?
SAM: Life is unfair. Do you think a cold beer would help you forget?
NORM: No, but six or seven might stand a fighting chance.
[On the other side of the bar, attorneys from the law firm of CAGE/FISH AND ASSOCIATES sit around a table and grow agitated as CLEMENS strikes out his 4,000th career batter in the second inning, plus two more batters to give him six strikeouts in the first two innings.]
LING WOO: I think we should sue Dan Duquette for this.
RICHARD FISH: C'mon, Ling. Be real. There is nothing I would enjoy more than bogging down the Duke in an endless, tedious, malicious and expensive lawsuit. But on what possible grounds?
JOHN CAGE: She might be on to something, Richard. We could file a class action suit on behalf of every fan in New England on the grounds that the Boston Red Sox are an integral social institution and that his failure to re-sign Clemens resulted in not only an irreparable loss of civic pride, it prevented the city from reaping millions of dollars in hotel, souvenir and various World Series revenues because the team never reached the championship during his tenure.
FISH: I don't know. It has a frivolous feel to it.
NELLE PORTER: By even the most conservative estimates, a World Series generates $50 million for a host city. Had Clemens pitched for the Red Sox instead of the Yankees, they would have reached the World Series in at least two of the past five years, which is a $100 million loss for the city. Making our share $33 million.
FISH: You know, now that you mention it, I think our billable hours are down since Clemens left. Ally, what do you think?
ALLY McBEAL: I wonder if Samuel Adams makes a lite beer?
[ALLY flags down the bar maid.]
ALLY: Waitress, could you pour me a lite beer in a very, very small cup?
CARLA TORTELLI-LEBEC: Sure. But you'll have to take off your bra and tell me which one you want it poured into, the left or the right.
[At an adjoining table, doctors from nearby ST. ELIGIUS HOSPITAL shake their heads when RUBEN SIERRA homers to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.]
DR. PHILLIP CHANDLER: What's he doing?
FISCUS: Well, he lost his medical license after that nasty malpractice suit involving the orangutan penile implants, but he's working as a technician at the Alcor cryonics lab in Scottsdale, Arizona.
DR. BOOMER MORRISON: How's that going for him?
FISCUS: Not bad, except every time Clemens pitches, Ehrlich has to go down to the refrigerator units, open the pod and stop Ted Williams from spinning.
[Back at the bar, WINSLOW HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL STEVEN HARPER shares a drink with octogenarian history teacher HARVEY LIPSCHULTZ. The latter winces as RAUL MONDESI steps to the plate and slams a two-run homer to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead.]
LIPSCHULTZ: Look at that. I'm sorry, but I just can't respect a player who lets his pants bunch up like that around the ankles. Whatever happened to showing a little stirrup sock? Say what you will about the color line, but baseball fashion really went to hell after Jackie Robinson broke in. I remember when Tom Yawkey owned the Sox and he used to keep a yardstick by the dugout so he could measure the batters' socks right in the on-deck circle. If they weren't showing at least 10 inches, he would fine them on the spot. He once suspended Bobby Doerr for a week because one stirrup was lower than the other.
HARPER: Harvey, will you shut up and just watch the game? It's bad enough that I have to deal with all those damn kids and their problems all day. Can't I just have a little peace and quiet while I watch the ballgame?
[A POSTAL WORKER WITH A CHEESY MUSTACHE leans over and interrupts their conversation.]
CLIFF CLAVEN: Actually, it's a little known fact but the concept of the local bar as a haven from the troubles of the outside world has been around for several centuries. In fact, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the London water supply was so contaminated that citizens would drink beer as their only source of pure liquid. Meanwhile, here in Boston, the tavern was the center of impassioned political debate, intense philosophical discussion and even highly respected poetry readings. Despite the proliferation of the modern sports bar, the Boston bar still maintains its noble tradition of oral expression, intellectual stimulation, high culture and -- .
[CLAVEN's speech is interrupted by PAT SULLIVAN and his girl friend, DENISE, as DEREK JETER steps to the plate.]
SULLY: Jetah is a pissah!
DENISE: Jetah sucks!
SULLY: No-mah is wicked!
DENISE: I love No-mah!
SULLY AND DENISE: No-mah! No-mah! No-mah!
[HARPER turns to LIPSCHULTZ.]
HARPER: And we're supposed to educate these people?
[As closer MARIANO RIVERA retires the first two batters in the ninth inning, the TV broadcasters note that CLEMENS has won 100 games since leaving Boston. MAYOR FRANK SKEFFINGTON slams his beer mug to the counter and turns to his CHIEF OF STAFF.]
SKEFFINGTON: This is all Duquette's fault. He needs to know that no one gets away with dumping a Hall-of-Famer in Frank Skeffington's city. Have the county triple the tax assessment on his house. Have the district court call him to jury duty. Have the meter maids write him parking tickets. Have the police cite him for playing his music too loud. Have the public works department extend the Big Dig project to the street in front of his home. Harass that miserable SOB so much he has no choice but to move as far from Boston as possible.
CHIEF OF STAFF: I think he already has, boss.
SKEFFINGTON: Good. But make sure his name is still on the voter registration list. We might be able to use the vote this fall.
[RIVERA records the final out of the game, securing the 5-2 victory for the Yankees and the 300th win of Clemens' career. As CLEMENS returns to the field with his CHILDREN and the stadium speakers blare Elton John's "Rocket Man,'' M.I.T. janitor WILL HUNTING looks up to see a YANKEE FAN in a Clemens replica jersey knocking loudly on the window.]
YANKEE FAN: Do you like apples?
YANKEE FAN: I said, Do you like apples?
WILL HUNTING: Yeah --
YANKEE FAN: Well, Rocket just got number 300 -- how do you like them apples?
[The bar goes silent as the grim result of the game settles over everyone. CLEMENS has just won his 300th game and he did it not with the Red Sox, but with the hated Yankees. Even though CLEMENS has been gone for seven years, this is still hard to accept. Especially given that the Yankees are in first place.
[Eventually the silence is broken by NORM, as he lightly taps his pencil on the bar. As the tapping continues, WILL HUNTING joins in by tapping his fingers on the table in rhythm. Then the ST. ELIGIUS DOCTORS join in, followed by the LAWYERS FROM CAGE/FISH AND ASSOCIATES. The tapping turns into slapping and gets progressively louder until ATTORNEYS FROM THE LAW FIRM OF DONNELL, YOUNG, DOLE AND FRUTT come in from the pool room pounding their cues and REBECCA HOWE comes in from her office, smacking together a wood box. Finally, WOODY is alternately pounding his hands on the bar and clapping, leading the entire bar in a spirited chant that can be heard all the way to the Ted Williams Tunnel.]
EVERYONE: Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! Yan-kees suck! ...
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.