Roger Clemens received a strong ovation — with a few boos, too — when he was introduced as a pitcher on the All-Fenway Park team before the Red Sox-Rays game Wednesday night.
Clemens spoke glowingly about Boston and his 13 years here.
“I felt young around some of the guys and old with the others,” Clemens said. “It was fun to see guys when I was 21 years old that made me nervous in big league clubhouse in Winter Haven, Fla. Got to see some of those guys and some of the guys I competed with and against. It was a great night; everybody was pretty excited about it."
“It was a fun week for me,” Clemens said. “We [he and his family] were able to celebrate the Astros' 50th [anniversary] over the weekend. That was fun for me because growing up around Houston I got to see the Cesar Cedenos and J.R. Richards, Jose Cruz Jr., and guys I watched down there.
“Of course, then to come back to Boston where it all started for me."
Clemens, who said Tuesday that he doubts a return to pitching for the Astros is in the cards after two successful starts for the independent Sugarland Skeeters, will be on the Hall of Fame ballot in December.
Will Clemens get elected, or will it be held against him that he’s prominently mentioned in the Mitchell Report as someone who took steroids — even though he was recently acquitted of charges that he lied to Congress?
Clemens said he doesn’t think about the perceptions of others and added he’s never been guilty of the charges.
Talking again about Boston, he said, “It’s great, I had the opportunity to come back a couple of times and play in a golf event with one of my buddies. We sat in the Monster [Seats] and that was a treat for all of us. I’ve always loved it here and pitching here. I’ve always said how close it looks for the fans to the field.
“They come here to root you on and they get into it. This is where I made my mark, so this will always have a special place in my heart."
Clemens said he’s always been treated well in Boston, even when he was a Yankee and even when he was dealing with the steroids issue.
“I can’t control the smattering of other things, but every time I’m in this town they’ve been nothing but great and thankful for the effort I gave when I was here," he said. "I know how I went about my work. We came close so many times. We made a lot of great memories. I had 13 wonderful years here."
Clemens said about his dinner with some of his All-Fenway "teammates," such as Pedro Martinez, “I’ve had battles with Nolan [Ryan]. I’ve had battles with Pedro. That’s great competition and I loved the competition. That’s what I do. I take my work seriously like he does. We talked about repeating our deliveries. He said he admired how I went about it and delivered the ball consistently all the time.
"Jason [Varitek] came over and got me from my table and we had good talk on how you make adjustments every couple of years and how you break down hitters."
Clemens said about his experience here, “I was good every year. Whether I was banged-up, I tried to answer the bell. I won 200 games with stuff and won the rest with my heart and determination.”
"I’ve never lost my love for this town. I learned to pitch in Boston."