AMID THE green
expanse of outfield in an empty ballpark, as a train whistle fades in the
distance, a father and son play catch. The baseball--it, too,
whistles--connects them, as it does every father, even those who don't have
seven Cy Young Awards and 4,502 strikeouts, and every son, even those who are
not minor leaguers. Last Friday in Applebee's Park, the home field of the Class
A Lexington (Ky.) Legends, Roger Clemens, the legendary 43-year-old
righthander, and Koby Clemens, his 19-year-old son and a Legends third baseman,
were connected by the literal give-and-take of this American ritual and,
Rockwell be damned, some serious, let-'er-rip, in-your-face trash talking.
starting to taste breakfast again," Roger says. "You?"
fine," Koby says.
be nice to be young."
like you. Mr. 3,000. You look like Bernie Mac, the old guy trying to make a
see whose tongue is hanging out."
green suit? What was up with that?"
Koby still can't
get over the green suit. One of those what-was-I-thinking choices, preserved by
the magic of videotape. The evening before, Roger and Koby had been stretching
together on the floor of the tiny clubhouse in Lexington--where, on Tuesday,
Roger was scheduled to begin a three-start minor league tour in preparation for
his return to the Houston Astros--while ESPN showed a retrospective of the
veteran's 22-year career.
"I want to
see this," said Koby. Then he echoed the announcer saying, "The
Rocket's red glare!"
glare. You'll find out about that in about 20 minutes, when you get in the