- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
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.
"Man, I'm starting to taste breakfast again," Roger says. "You?"
"Nope, I'm fine," Koby says.
"Yeah, must be nice to be young."
"Yep. Not like you. Mr. 3,000. You look like Bernie Mac, the old guy trying to make a comeback."
"Yeah, we'll see whose tongue is hanging out."
"And that 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!"
"Yeah, red glare. You'll find out about that in about 20 minutes, when you get in the [batting] cage."