Roger Clemens The Gimmick

Photo via Skeeters facebook page
In 1997, Gordie Howe played a single line shift for the Detroit Vipers of the IHL (International Hockey League). Howe skated around for a little bit and players were told not to touch the 70 year old legend while he took his shift. He eventually he skated off and didn't return. On that day Howe played in sixth decade of professional hockey.

In 2004, Rickey Henderson played for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League. The aging Henderson was no longer the speedster of his youth but still had the diva attitude. One night against the Long Island Ducks, he ripped a ball down the line which would have been a stand-up triple ten years earlier. Instead, Henderson ran half way to first and walked the rest.

Howard Johnson played for the Rockland Boulders of the CAN-AM League last year which gave him the opportunity to play with his son Glen. This season Jose Cansesco made a comeback with the Worcester Tornadoes (they're in last place).

They were all gimmicks, to bring fans in, sell a few more jerseys and give their respective teams some national attention.

Can you really fault the Sugar Land Skeeters for signing Roger Clemens? It gives them attention in a baseball market with a major league team that is struggling. If you live in Houston area would you rather pay $30 to see a Triple-A team, or $12 to see Roger Clemens? The Skeeters actually aren't in dire need to sell tickets, they currently lead the league in attendance, and have a majority of their future games sold out. The Clemens signing is for the future. It will make fans aware of their team, and bring people through the gates in the future years. Independent league teams can flourish or perish in a season, look at the list of defunct teams over the last few years that includes the London Rippers, Brockton Rox, and Pittsfield Colonials.

The Skeeters are firmly implanting themselves in the baseball culture of Houston. 

You won't see Clemens lighting up the radar gun with a 98 mph fastball, or striking out 20 in a game. He may only pitch once. So you won't see much. What you will see is a good business move by the Skeeters.

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