The Rocket's golden moments
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

Roger Clemens was retired about as long as Britney Spears was married. Short as it might have been, though, the Rocket Man's retirement was absolutely exhausting. Our exclusive peek inside his diary reveals . . .

Oct. 26: I cleaned out my locker at Yankee Stadium today and said good-bye to all the boys. Writers keep asking whether there's any chance I'll come back next year, but they're hunting the wrong dog. I'm not like Michael Jordon and Magic Johnson -- some poor old athlete unable to leave the game or find satisfaction in another venture. Sure, I'll miss the camaraderie and the competition, but this is what I want and I'm not looking back. I've missed too much time with my family because of baseball and I'm looking forward to the rest of my life.

Roger Clemens
"Farewell, fans. It's been great. I'm honored to go out as a Yankee."
Oct. 27: What a great day. Nothing to do and not a care in the world. I slept in until noon and spent the whole afternoon watching TV. I never knew "Matlock'' was on during the day, too.

Oct. 28: Despite what everyone said, I'm not going to have any trouble keeping busy in retirement because I've just got too many exciting projects on my plate. Like today. I worked the entire day, but it was worth it because I've never seen the garage so clean.

Oct. 30: Another good thing about being retired is having the time to sit down and finally get all your papers in order. But damn, my 401K plan has taken a hit.

Nov. 2: Cleaned the garage again.

Nov. 4: Doesn't MTV ever show music videos anymore?

Nov. 6: Filed for free agency but just as a mere formality. I mean, I've turned the page on that chapter of my life. And I have far too much on my agenda to even consider pitching again.

Nov. 10: Went to the hardware store and looked at nails and doorknobs.

Nov. 14: A wasted day. I looked all day but could not remember where I put my car keys. And then when I finally gave up, Debbie found them right on the coffee table but I swear they weren't there when I looked.

Nov. 18: Doesn't Bravo ever show anything but re-runs of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?''

Hummer
"Wow! The Boss game me a Hummer! Man, am I honored to go out as a Yankee."
Nov. 20: Cleaned the garage again.

Nov. 25: Did all the Thanksgiving grocery shopping for Debbie. But I can't believe the prices. Seventy cents per pound for turkey? I remember when you could buy an entire 36-pound Tom turkey for 70 cents -- and they threw in a can of cranberry sauce for free. What is this country coming to?

Dec. 3: Went down to the basement and threw baseballs at the life-sized poster of Mike Piazza, just to maintain my touch. Hit him every time. I've still got it. Not that I need it, but it's nice to know. Just in case of, like, burglars. Or something.

Dec. 5: Lost my car keys again.

Dec. 7: I tell you, that Andy Rooney cracks me up every time.

Dec. 11: Andy Pettitte signed with the Astros today. Hmmmm. I wonder whether they would be interested in signing me. Not that I would want to because I love being retired. But I was just wondering.

Dec. 12: And it couldn't hurt to call the Astros and see what's up. Could it?

Dec. 18: Stopped by Wal-Mart while shopping for Christmas presents and just for the heck of it, filled out an application to be a greeter.

Dec. 20: Boy, it was cold today. But not, as I was telling the boys at the hardware store this morning, anywhere near as cold as it was that one day, oh, must have been six years ago. Now, that was cold.

Dec. 24: Went over to Don Zimmer's place to watch "White Christmas.'' I tell you, that Rosemary Clooney was some looker.

Roger Clemens
"Ahh, screw it. Hey, at least Sox fans and Yanks fans have something in common now."
Dec. 25: Debbie, me and the boys enjoyed a very pleasant Christmas together. Although I just don't understand these violent video games the boys all wanted for Christmas. And some of the music they listen to, have you ever heard the lyrics? I don't understand why they wear their pants so low, either. And don't get me started on those hairstyles.

Dec. 31: Spent New Year's Eve at home watching the show from Times Square. Whatever happened to that nice Guy Lombardo? Or maybe he was on after I went to bed at 11:30.

Jan. 6: Does Debbie hide my car keys when I'm not looking?

Jan. 10: The Astros called and asked me whether I wanted to pitch for them next season. Naturally, I told them no, sorry, I was too busy and that I was enjoying retirement too much and that I couldn't disappoint my family.

Jan. 11: Debbie and the boys told me to call the Astros back and tell them yes.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com





GOLDEN MOMENTS

ALSO SEE:


Jim Caple Archive

Caple: Rose rage

Jim Caple's 2003 Sports Quiz

Caple: The year that wasn't

The List: Best lists of 2003





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