Archive for February, 2008

Before Ian was Ian…

February 20, 2008

Extensive and Exclusive Interview with Ian Kennedy, June 2007

On the heels of my Joba Chamberlain chat from last year, I figured it would be a good time to post my lengthy interview with Ian Kennedy as well.

Thunder fans were very fortunate to have Chamberlain and Kennedy on the same staff at the same time, and perhaps the media was just as lucky as well…the stories seemed to write themselves with last year’s pitching staff.

In any event, here’s the transcript from my interview with Kennedy, which took place outside the Thunder clubhouse in mid-June.  As with the Chamberlain post from a few days back, this interview has never seen the light of day, and only small portions have been used in the paper.

Note: You might notice that a lot of the questions I asked Kennedy are similar to what I asked Chamberlain.  I originally had planned on writing a single feature on both of them, and was trying to go for the same kind of questions.  When you write for a weekly, you really have to plan out your space very carefully…but I eventually decided to do two separate features.

Ashmore: The Yankees drafted you 21st overall just a year ago.  Take me back to draft day, what was that like for you?

Kennedy: I guess it was kind of nerveracking, because I had to wake up and wait by the computer and see where I’d go.  There were some teams that were interested.  I actually didn’t even hear my name get picked.  I got a phone call before that — my college pitching coach, Dave Lawn, called me and said congratulations.  And that was weird, because the computer was only on 17, so there were still a few more to go.  He called me and said ‘congratulations on the Yankees taking you,’ and I was like ‘what?’

We didn’t look at the draft tracker, but that was going faster than the actual broadcasting was.  So I heard it, and I talked to the area scout, Bill Mele, and then my agent called me and told me everything and congratulated me and all that stuff.  So it was kind of an exciting morning.

Ashmore: You mentioned some teams who picked before the Yankees were interested in you.  Did you get drafted where you were expecting to go?

Kennedy: Actually, from the night before, the Yankees sounded more interested than all the other teams.  I was still trying to figure out where I was going to go and all that stuff, but it ended up being the Yankees at 21.

Ashmore: The Yankees gave you a $2.25 million bonus as their first round pick.  What’s it like going from a college kid with not a lot of money to someone who’s got seven figures in their bank account?

Kennedy: It didn’t really change much at all.  I think of it as God’s money, and He gave me all this talent in order to get that.  I didn’t really do too much with it.  I got a house that I had to pay my parents for.  But I basically put it all in investments.  I’ve got to live off some of it, but a lot of it is in investments.

Ashmore: I’m sure a lot of people think of USC as a football school with their recent success, but they’ve also got a legendary baseball program as well.  You emerged as an ace there and took over for Anthony Reyes, who went on to the big leagues.  Take me through what that experience was like…

Kennedy: I had big shoes to fill.  The year before, they didn’t have a lot of pitching and they had a lot of openings on the weekends because people were hurt, people failed out of school.  I was a freshman, and the year before I got there, they weren’t doing very well.  I think they finished below .500 for the first time in 10 years.  Then I went out there and I actually beat out a sophomore for Friday night pitching.  That was kind of cool, I got to pitch against Jered Weaver for my first start, which was really cool.  I was just hoping to get a no-decision out of it. 

Pitching there, it’s like pitching for the Yankees.  They’ve won more college championships than any other school, and a lot of big names came from there — the latest one was Mark Prior.  Hopefully he does something soon.

Ashmore: I’m not too familiar with the college game myself, and I think there are a lot of fans who might be in that same boat.  You talked about getting to pitch on Friday nights…can you talk about the significance of that?

Kennedy: Usually, Friday’s are where they put out their best starter.  Then Saturday is the next best.  Traditionally on Sundays, it’s a good, talented freshman that would pitch.  I pitched on Friday’s, so that was kind of a big thing for a freshman to do that.  Randy Flores, he pitched for the Cardinals…actually (current Thunder catcher) Jason Brown played with him, he was the last freshman pitcher to do that.  He pitched on Friday’s through his whole career there.  I was lucky enough to do that.  But I also came at a bad time for USC.  But Friday’s are traditionally where you want to get that first one out of the way.  If you win on Saturday, then you can get a sweep if you have a good enough rotation.  But Friday’s the most important day I think.

Ashmore: You look at all these guys who’ve gotten an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues this season: Phil Hughes, Matt DeSalvo, Tyler Clippard, Chase Wright.  Do you think that’s allowed you to fly under the radar this season, or do you think that’s kind of intensified the pressure on you?

Kennedy: I don’t know, I just look at that as it’s good for our organization to do that.  As a young guy, if you get drafted by a team, you want to be on that big league team.  You want to make your way up there, you don’t want to get traded unless you don’t like the organization.  But I like the Yankees organization, and of course I want to be a big league Yankee.  But I don’t really know if I’m flying under the radar.  I don’t really pay attention to that, if I am or if I’m not.  But there’s so many guys going up and down almost every other day, I guess it does make it look like Joba and I are under the radar.

Ashmore: Are you where you thought you would be at this point in the season?  Did you think you’d be in Double-A this early in the season?  Did you think you would be here earlier?

Kennedy: No, I kind of expected to be in Tampa.  I didn’t know, all I wanted to do was pitch well.  I knew that I couldn’t determine where, or if I got moved up fast.  The opening up here, Chase Wright got called up to the big leagues, so that spot opened up quick and it stayed open until I came in.  I really didn’t even look at that, I just wanted to do well wherever I was.  I wanted to do well in Tampa and hopefully be here by the end of the season, that’s what my goal was.  Here I am.

Ashmore: For someone who hasn’t seen you pitch before, give me an idea of what you throw…

Kennedy: Fastball, changeup, slider, curveball.  I command all my pitches a lot of like Clippard does.  That’s who they compare me to.  Fastball command is the most important thing.  I think if you do that, you can pitch anywhere.  I can throw it about 89-91, but I like to outthink the hitters and that’s about it.  If he expects something else, hopefully he gets fooled on something else.  If he expects a fastball, I’ll throw a changeup.  Basically, keep everything at the same arm speed to throw off their balance.

Ashmore: It seems like you’ve made the adjustment from Single-A to Double-A quite nicely…but still, how big of an adjustment is that?

Kennedy: I honestly haven’t noticed that much of a difference.  You still have to go after hitters, you can’t be afraid, you can’t be timid.  There’s a couple guys in the lineup that you have to look out for here compared to High-A.  There might be one or two guys down there, and up here there might be three or four.  But you still have to go after them, I haven’t noticed much of a difference.  I think in my first start, I was kind of timid.  But after I watched a few games, I realized I’ve just got to do the same things I’ve always been doing.  My second outing was a lot better, and hopefully from here on out I’ll keep doing well.

Ashmore: Everybody likes to project when prospects are going to make their big league debut.  Do you have sort of timeline when it comes to when you think you’ll be making your Major League debut?

Kennedy: All I can do is keep doing well.  If I keep doing well, everything looks really good.  Things can change where you can’t think about injuries, or if you’re not having success.  But if I keep having success, this fast track seems pretty nice.  But I don’t know, I can’t really determine that.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT


2008 Baseball America Top 30: #26-30

February 19, 2008

The long awaited breakdown of Baseball America’s Top 30 Yankees prospects from this season is finally here, and as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got the Thunder’s new lead broadcaster, Steve Rudenstein, on board to provide some analysis for this.

Steve’s done a great job of providing his expert analysis on each player, and I’ll throw my “Thunder Thoughts” in there after each of his player breakdowns. 

As for Steve’s work, you should know that the below commentary are opinions solely from Steve Rudenstein, and do not represent the opinions of the Trenton Thunder (Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees) and the New York Yankees.

#26 RHP J.B. Cox – Cox was on the fast-track after helping lead Texas to a 2005 College World Series championship, and continuing that success to Tampa and Trenton. Then his progress came to a screeching halt when he lost all of 2007 to Tommy John surgery. The timing of the injury is most unfortunate. A healthy Cox almost certainly would have made his major league debut with the Yankees in 2007. Cox needs to be as patient as possible in recovering from the injury (easier said than done of course). He isn’t expected to be ready for Spring Training and probably won’t see game action until mid-summer. If he can return to his pre-injury form, this fastball/slider set-up man could eventually give the Yankees huge help in the middle innings.

Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts: Steve’s absolutely right, Cox was pretty much on his way to the Bronx in 2007 before his elbow injury shut him down.  One thing that isn’t discussed that often is that the Yankees may have done this to themselves, as Cox suffered the injury during an Olympic Qualifying Tournament late in the 2006 season.  Cox was lost for the Eastern League playoffs, and hasn’t thrown a meaningful pitch since.  It’s very possible his rehab path will take him back to Trenton, but it’s unlikely he’d stay there very long.

#27 3B/SS Mitch Hilligoss – Along the same lines on the prospect list as Colin Curtis, Hilligoss doesn’t exhibit incredible tools, but has the make-up to keep advancing up the ladder. He made a name for himself last season by setting a South Atlantic League record with a 38-game hitting streak. He also led the league in hits with 161. Defensively, Hilligoss played at third base and shortstop last season with Charleston, and has the ability to play anywhere in the infield. According to those within the organization, he has tremendous leadership skills. In March, the Yankees will have to figure out which level (Tampa or Trenton) to place a handful of infielders, including Hilligoss. With a good spring, Hilligoss could skip Tampa and start the season with the Thunder.

Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts: In time, Hilligoss may become one of the most valuable members of the Yankees farm system.  He’s a guy who can flat out rake, and his versatility is a tremendous asset to whatever team he’s on.  While he’s not considered a top prospect, his hitting streak garnered him a lot of national attention, and there’s a lot of anticipation for his eventual call-up to Trenton.

#28 RHP Scott Patterson – Patterson has journeyed from Division II West Virginia State, to Non-Affiliated baseball, to the Yankees Organization and now to their 40-man roster. Patterson’s biggest asset is his tall, lanky delivery. Hitters have a lot of trouble picking up the ball out of his hand, and don’t take good swings against him. He has a fastball that hits the low-90s and a big loopy curveball. Last season, he had phenomenal year in Trenton going 4-2 with a 1.09 ERA in 43 appearances. He also struck out 91 and only walked 15 in 74 IP. If all continues to go well for Patterson, he will make his major league debut at some point in 2008.

Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts: I can tell you first hand that the Atlantic League is no joke.  People have varying perceptions of independent ball, but the Atlantic League is a veteran league that can have as many as 50-60 players with big league time on the league’s eight rosters at any given time.  A lot of people compare the level of play in that league to a Double-A or Triple-A level, so considering Patterson’s video game numbers with the Lancaster Barnstormers, it’s no surprise that he was able to keep that going with the Thunder.  After his numbers were seemingly ignored for a season and a half, Patterson has finally earned a spot on the 40-man roster, and figures to play a role in the Yankees bullpen at some point during the 2008 season.

#29 RHP Edwar Ramirez – As with finding Patterson, Yankees scouts also deserve a lot of credit in finding Ramirez. After a failed stint in the Angels’ Organization, Ramirez was signed by the Yankees from Non-Affiliated baseball in 2006. The tall, wiry Ramirez had a breakthrough 2007 season. Displaying a dominant change-up, Ramirez made quick work of Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before debuting with the Yankees in July. He was used inconsistently out of the bullpen by Joe Torre, and had erratic results. Ramirez needs a second pitch to emerge if he hopes to sustain success at the major league level. There are also questions about his scrawny frame holding up over time. The affable Ramirez does have a lot of people within the organization rooting for him.

Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts: Ramirez’s changeup is one of the dirtiest pitches in the game, but as Steve said, he’s going to need something else to establish himself as a big leaguer.  For as hard as it is to make the big leagues, it’s exponentially more difficult to stay.  Edwar’s biggest issue, as far as getting back to the Bronx goes, is the sheer amount of competition he has for only a handful of available spots.  Thunder alums Alan Horne, Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Marquez have all been mentioned as potential bullpen candidates, and all have higher ceilings than Ramirez.

#30 RHP Zach McAllister – A third round selection in the 2006 draft, McAllister is another right-hander with a big build. However, at 6’5” 230 pounds, he doesn’t currently throw as hard as some of the other right-handed prospects. At this point in his career, he is comparable to RHP Jason Jones who has pitched for the Thunder in parts of the last two seasons. The Yankees have adjusted his arm slot in hopes of making him more of a power pitcher. He finished third in the New York-Penn League in strikeouts (75 in 71 IP) and made 15 starts for Staten Island. He will head to Charleston and anchor their rotation in 2008.

Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts: McAllister is probably a year or two away from Trenton, but that’s if he gets there at all.  He’s had some inconsistent outings, and the amount of depth that the Yankees organization has doesn’t work in his favor.  I got to see McAllister pitch against the Cyclones in Brooklyn, and the results were mixed.  He showed flashes of why he’s on this list, but also showed why people have concerns about his long term future.  Of the players on this list from 26 through 30, you could certainly make a case that McAllister has the most to gain from a solid 2008.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

For Tomorrow…

February 18, 2008

We’re going to start our look at Baseball America’s Top 30 Prospects from this season.

I’ve got Steve Rudenstein, the new director of broadcasting for the Trenton Thunder, on board to provide some expert analysis on some of these guys as well.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Saturday Notes

February 16, 2008

If you’ve ever wanted to see “Joba Chamberlain” and “nipple rings” in the same sentence — and gosh, haven’t we all — then the LoHud Yankees Blog has got that information for you.  Suffice it to say, that subject won’t be coming up the next time I chat with Joba.

Other Thunder alum related info includes Chien-Ming Wang losing his arbitration case and Carl Pavano using a box rescued from the garbage to store his stuff. 

Not exactly the hardest hitting news, but such is life in spring training, so that’s all I’ve got for today…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Before Joba was Joba…

February 15, 2008

Extensive and Exclusive Never Before Seen Interview With Joba Chamberlain, June 2007

Joba Chamberlain / Photo by Mike Ashmore (2007)

When Joba Chamberlain first arrived in Trenton about halfway through the season, I don’t think anyone expected him to move through the system quite as quickly as he did.  Sure, he was a first round pick, but this was his first year of professional experience and he was still learning the pro game.

Sure enough, about two months later Chamberlain was setting the world on fire in the Bronx.

When I caught up with him in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse in September, it was a struggle to even get two minutes with him because of the constant crowd of reporters waiting to talk to him.

But back in June, you could have as much time with Joba as you wanted, so here’s the complete transcript from our June 15th interview just outside the home clubhouse at Waterfront Park.

Note: This has never been seen in its entirety.  However, some of the quotes have appeared in my June 28th feature on Chamberlain in the Democrat.

Ashmore: I’ve read that your heritage is very important to you.  As someone not familiar with the Native American culture, I was wondering if you could take me through growing up in that lifestyle and what it meant to be one of the highest drafted Native American players in baseball history.

Chamberlain: It’s been fun.  It’s one of those things that I take as a compliment.  A lot of Native Americans don’t necessarily get the opportunity to chase their dreams, and I was one of them.  So when I go back to where my family’s from, I always tell the kids to work hard and set yourself up to be successful and good things will happen.  You’ve just got to be patient and wait for your breaks, because a lot of them don’t get to see light at the end of the tunnel, but there always is light at the end of the tunnel.  I tell them to stay focused and trust themselves and just do everything that they want to do and never let go of their dreams.

My dad was born on a reservation, and he had polio at the age of eight months so he was taken away from his family.  We all grew up in the city, but we still have family on the reservation, so we go back and see them.  It’s a lot better, but it still can become better.  And it’s frustrating for a lot of the kids, because they don’t get the opportunities that a lot of kids in the city do, so you’ve just got to tell them to stay focused and always chase your dream.

Ashmore: So with that said, how important is it to you to be a role model for those people?

Chamberlain: You’ve got to be a role model in more ways than just one, on the field.  You’ve got to lead your life the right way.  I’m representing the Yankees on the front, but I’m also representing my name on the back, and that’s almost just as important to me.  To be able to carry on my name, and to be able to go back to see the opportunities and the tribulations that I came through in my life, I think it’s good.  This is something that I want to do, and every day I’m making sure that I’m doing things the right way and that I’m preparing myself to be successful.

Ashmore: The Yankees picked you 41st overall in 2006.  Take me back to draft day, what was that like for you?

Chamberlain: Stressful.  I stopped watching it in the middle of the first round and started playing with my son.  We were upstairs playing, and I got a call from a bunch of my teammates and everybody saying that I’d been picked at 41 by the Yankees.  It couldn’t have happened with a better team or organization, so I was pretty lucky to get picked by them at 41.

Ashmore: Did you get picked where you were expecting to go?

Chamberlain:  No, it was a little later than I expected to go.  But you’ve still got to go out and pitch and maybe prove people wrong and show them what they passed up on.  That puts a little chip on my shoulder, and I like that.  It makes me work that much harder to get to where I want to go.

Ashmore: How do you handle going from not having a lot of money to signing the kind of check that the Yankees gave you when you were picked?

Chamberlain: I don’t know.  If I had five dollars in my wallet when I was growing up, I was happy.  You’ve got to be humbled by it, because there’s a lot of people that you can help with that, and I think that’s the biggest thing.  I wouldn’t be where I was if there weren’t a lot of people to help me to get here.  The biggest thing for me is to know that I can take care of my family if they need something, and I can take care of a lot of other people that have helped me get to where I’m at.

Ashmore: It seems like you really started to establish yourself as a premier prospect in Hawaii Winter Baseball this off-season.  What was your experience like over there?

Chamberlain: It was awesome, I think I probably grew more as an individual than as a pitcher.  It’s a new place, you’re there for a while, and there’s Japanese guys and guys you don’t know on your team.  You’ve got to step outside of your comfort level, and just become a better person.  When you’re out there, it’s a lot easier to communicate with the guys before and after the game about the pitches or what were you expecting here.  It’s a little bit laid back compared to what it is during the season, so I think I learned a lot being able to talk to the guys after the game, like ‘Hey, I pitched you like this, what were you expecting?’ or “Did you see something?’ and I think it really helped the development of me becoming a pitcher than if I’d have jus stayed here.

Ashmore: Did you consider that your first taste of professional baseball considering you didn’t play in the minors in 2006?

Chamberlain: Yeah.  All the guys were professional, so it was a little different.  It was different to see the training, and the different way they go about it.  College is a lot different.  It was a good transition instead of just going straight from college to mini-camp to straight into spring training.  To get that little edge and that little jump in Hawaii, I think that helped.

Ashmore: For someone who hasn’t seen you pitch before, give me a little self scouting report and what to expect from you out there…

Chamberlain: I’m going to give you 110 (percent).  I’m going to go out there, and I’m going to throw hard, and I’m going to locate.  I’m going to be exciting on the mound, I’m going to show emotion and be that guy who wants to keep my team involved and just keep everyone in the game because it can get lackadaisical at times.  Just be able to throw to the plate, keep everyone involved, and keep everyone on their toes.  It’s always easier to not get relaxed as a defender, and for me to not get relaxed out there, and just throw it and see what happens.

Ashmore: The scouting reports on you say you’ve got a fastball, slider, curveball and a change.  Anything else?

Chamberlain: Nope.

Ashmore: Focusing on the fastball for a minute, you regularly throw in the mid to high 90’s.  But even with being able to throw that hard, how important is being able to locate as well?

Chamberlain: It’s huge.  As you well know, you can throw as hard as you want, but if it isn’t where it needs to be, it’s going to get hit.  If I’m sitting at 94 and I can locate it, it’s better than me hitting 97 and throwing it right down the middle.  As long as I’m locating, I think it allows me to throw all my other pitches for strikes.

Ashmore: You were pretty much lights out in Tampa, and you just made you first start with Trenton.  How big of an adjustment has it been for you jumping from Single-A to Double-A?

Chamberlain: It’s 60 feet, six inches no matter where you throw.  I think that’s the biggest thing, and I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from guys who’ve played.  Just be yourself.  I think the biggest thing that I did notice was that a lot of these guys adjust during the at-bat, not at the next at-bat.  You can’t pitch them the same way.  They’re good enough to where you might be able to strike them out with a slider the first time, but they’re not going to swing at it the next time out.  The biggest thing to me was just them adjusting during the current at-bat, not the next at-bat or next time out.

Ashmore: Everybody likes to project when a player like yourself is going to reach the big leagues.  Do you have any sort of timetable or goal as far as when you’d like to do that?

Chamberlain: No.  I think you always have goals and dreams, and you set them, but you can’t set them too high to where if you don’t meet them you feel like you’re a failure.  To be where I’m at right now, I would probably say I’m ahead of schedule for my own goals, I would say.  Everything’s going good.  You’ve just got to set yourself up to be successful.  You can only control what you do out there, everything else is up to the people above me.  As long as I go out and do my thing and be successful, that’s all I can do.

I was fortunate enough to speak to Joba on four separate occasions in Trenton, although I only got to see him pitch once — a dominant 12 strikeout performance in six innings of work against the hapless Harrisburg Senators.  I think that if any of his answers tell the tale of just how quickly he sailed through the system, it’s the last one.  He didn’t give me any indication that he thought he’d get to Yankee Stadium as early as he did, and I’m not sure he thought he would.

About a week before he was called up, I wrote a highly criticized — and perhaps rightly so — column in which I blasted the Yankees for rushing Chamberlain through the system, pointing to the fact that this was just his first season of professional baseball, and that calling him up too early could be determental to his long-term progress.

Since then, Joba quickly blossomed into one of baseball’s brightest young stars, and will be one of the most closely followed players in the game in 2008.

Next week, I’ll post my ten-minute chat with Ian Kennedy from the same day. 

Another indication of how far these guys have come? 

Any reporter who can get a combined 20 minutes one-on-one with Chamberlain and Kennedy these days is either Peter Gammons or a liar…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Pending Pinstripes Looks at Horne and Marquez

February 15, 2008

Pending Pinstripes is breaking down their top Yankees prospects, and they’ve got Alan Horne at #6 and Jeff Marquez at #7.  They’ve got extensive profiles and projections of two fifths of last year’s Thunder rotation over there, so make sure you check that out.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Abraham: Cervelli Still Limited

February 14, 2008

I noticed on Peter Abraham’s LoHud Yankees Blog that he wrote that potential Thunder starting catcher Francisco Cervelli broke his hand in winter ball and will be limited for about a week.  Now that doesn’t really sound like a big deal, but for those of you familiar with how hand issues haunted Jose Tabata for a while, this might be some scary news.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

For anyone curious…

February 14, 2008

I was able to confirm that Brian McNamee was NOT with Roger Clemens in Trenton.  The timeline of when their professional relationship ended seems unclear, so I thought it was worth looking into.

Yesterday, Clemens spoke many times about not taking shortcuts, and I think that’s something members of the Trenton media can attest to, at least to some extent.

After his tune-up start, we were told that he has a strict post-game routine, and were forced to wait for his appearance in the third clubhouse for his press conference for a little over an hour.  That was something that aggrevated a lot of people, especially considering the muggy conditions of the room, but it does go to show that Clemens was serious about his conditioning…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Thunder Thoughts Exclusive: Clemens Former Manager Weighs In

February 13, 2008

One of the benefits of covering the Atlantic League as well as the Trenton Thunder is that you’re able to establish a lot of connections with a lot of people still relevant to the game.

One of those people is Butch Hobson, who was recently named the manager of that league’s expansion Southern Maryland franchise.  At the end of our conversation about some player signings, I asked Hobson about his thoughts on the perils of his former player, Roger Clemens, whom Hobson managed for several seasons in Boston.

“We all know somebody’s not telling the truth,” Hobson said.

“Roger’s a workaholic and he’s had a tremendous career.  I just hope something like this doesn’t put a mark on his career, but with what Andy Pettitte’s saying, that he thought Roger took HGH, I don’t know.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Ashmore: Why Does Nobody Care About Andy Pettitte?

February 13, 2008

As I watch Brian McNamee and Thunder pitcher for a day Roger Clemens get grilled by Congress, I find it endlessly interesting about how Andy Pettitte seems to be getting a free pass from the public.

While it seems it can’t definitively be proved that Clemens did or didn’t do anything, Pettitte has admitted to HGH use.  While all indications are that Clemens has thrown his last pitch, Pettitte is an active Major Leaguer who is currently under contract with the New York Yankees.

Will he face any punishment from Major League Baseball?  How about the Yankees?

As someone who very infrequently gets to cover Major League games, I have very little personal experience with both Pettitte and Clemens, but understand both have very good reputations with the media.  Specifically with Pettitte, I witnessed an exchange with a reporter who mistakenly asked him a question before the game on the day of one of his starts — which is a known no-no.  Once the reporter either realized that or Pettitte informed him of this, the reporter profusely apologized, but Pettitte informed the reporter that it was OK, and encouraged him to interview him.

So at least with Pettitte, considering that example, I can understand his reputation.  But still, I wonder why there has been little scrutiny on him.  It was almost comical to me that an admitted cheater was called “a role model on and off the field” by Congress.

The focus is clearly on whether Clemens did or didn’t do what he’s been accused of, but do his denials make him worse than Pettitte — who has admitted to HGH use?  I have no issue with either Pettitte or Clemens, but just wonder why the focus is solely on Clemens, who…hard as it is to believe, may have never done anything.

Your thoughts are welcomed…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT