“I learned that it’s a little different brand of baseball in the East,” Clemens said Friday night before filling in for veteran radio announcer Joe Castiglione on the WEEI broadcast of the Red Sox’s series opener against the Houston Astros. “I didn’t just learn how to drive in New England when I was 21 years old. I learned a lot [more].”
Clemens was drafted by the Red Sox and spent the first 13 years of his career in Boston. And although he went 192-111 with a 3.06 ERA and won the first three of his seven Cy Young Awards with the Red Sox, he also had a few run-ins with the media. In 1992, for instance, he threw two hamburger buns and a hail of profanities at Boston Herald columnist George Kimball over a published accusation that Clemens refused to sign an autograph for a family with a dying child.
It remains unclear what set off Price last week when he told the Boston Globe that he intended to stop giving one-on-one interviews on days when he doesn’t pitch and later directed an expletive-filled tantrum at a Comcast Sportsnet reporter after a game in New York. But Price obviously has taken issue with how he has been treated by the media.
“You know, I had my bumps in the road,” Clemens said. “I think it’s because you want to do so well all the time, and when you don’t, I think it gets at you a little bit. Because if you’re a prideful man, you want to do well. I mean, it’s your job.”
Clemens remains involved with the Astros as a special assistant to the general manager. He said the key to surviving and thriving in Boston is “you have to develop a great routine. I think you have to have something that you can count on when you’re going good or bad.”
“It’s no different than the talk I gave with the Astros this year,” Clemens said. “I said, ‘Be as nasty and tough and tenacious as you can be on the field and be the nicest person off the field,’ but you’ve got to really play with a chip on your shoulder to advance in this league.”
Clemens has followed the performance of new Red Sox ace Chris Sale. If he doesn’t catch Sale’s starts on television, he often receives text messages from friends who inform him of Sale’s latest double-digit strikeout game.
Sale has 136 strikeouts in 99 innings, putting him on pace to eclipse Clemens’ single-season career high of 292 strikeouts with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997.
“He’s got some wipeout pitches,” Clemens said. “I just see a tremendous amount of focus. I’ve always said that your ability to focus more than the next guy is going to carry you through a lot of the time.”