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"Of course I wouldn't," he says. "But I still don't think I said enough to get ejected. After I was ejected, I said some things—I was going to get my money's worth."
He talks for more than two hours. He does not raise his voice. He does not use the words from the television screen. He is the goodest guy you could find. This is his version of the story, told in familiar surroundings. A football game is being played on a television set in a corner of the room, the sound turned off. Every 30 seconds there are scenes of mayhem on the screen that are worse than anything allowed in baseball. The mayhem is fine because football is football, a game played entirely by possessed rebels and Ninja Turtle villains. In baseball there is only one of these, and he is in hibernation.
Clemens is beginning to negotiate a contract that probably will make him the highest-paid player in a high-paying game. In this very neighborhood he is having a house built that will include a theater, an art room, a weight room and a showcase trophy room that will be large enough to display all the current No. 21 uniforms in baseball, signed by their owners and encased in glass. A large circular driveway will lead to the house, with hedges arranged inside the circle to form a large Old English C. His kids are healthy. His wife is beautiful.
"Does he look stressed out to you?" Hendricks, the agent, asks. "Does he?"
Clemens looks, again, like a big kid. He could be filling out some accident report after a Saturday night when he planted the family four-door in an oak tree. Why was he going so fast? Didn't he see that STOP sign at the corner? He runs on a high-grade adolescent fuel, this best pitcher in baseball, and this time it got him in trouble. The analysis of what happened Oct. 10 probably should not run too deep. He hit the gas too hard. He went into a spin. Nobody got hurt. There can be attempts in the quiet to weave logic through all the things that happened, but they happened in a noisy, illogical time. Thirty-seven chances. A different person was at work with Ninja Turtles on his feet.
"When do you start getting ready for the next season?" Clemens is asked.
"I always start the day after the World Series ends," he says. "This year I want to lose a little weight. I want to pitch at about 215.1 was 205 in college, and I was 225 last year. I'm looking for something in between."
This is the day after the World Series ended. Clemens is quite pleased that the A's were swept. There has been a surprise rainstorm in Houston. Clemens says he ran three miles in the rain.