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Wednesday, August 04, 2004 

Jump Street

After years of experimenting with the communicative powers of cyberspace—Web site, stat service message board, and the most pedestrian of tools, e-mail—it has come to this. To paraphrase something that I'm pretty sure wasn't actually spoken in either the original, the Johnny Drama-starring remake, or the long-forgotten sequel to the original: Run, here comes The Blog! Yes, that 21st century catalyst of Democracy, the Web Log, or blog as the kids like to say, has beseiged the League of Champions. No, not in the form of a carnivorous gelatinous, well, blob, but as a rising phoenix known as the LOC Record. (Don't you love that new blog smell?)

Coincidentally, this launch date happens to fall on the 42nd birthday of Roger Clemens (as well as the birthday of Mrs. Trader Tom, my sister, and former neighbor and owner in last century's original LOC incarnation, Praveen Rangnath). Now, apparently the Rocket was celebrating a bit early, but we won't hold that against him. Or maybe we should. Anyway, what can be said of the Rocket that ESPN hasn't or won't beat us to death with after every one of his starts?

Wait, that wasn't a rhetorical question. As you are well aware, the mainstream press has continued their disgraceful policy of ignoring the League of Champions, the premier fantasy baseball organization in the free world. Thank the roto gods that the Record is around to fill in the information gaps, to grout the crevices of ignorance.

So, how surprising is Clemens' post-LOC success? Not very, or at least, it shouldn't have been. Here are his season TLV (Total LOC Values): 2000: 7 (5th among starters), 2001: 7.4 (2nd), 2002: 19.8 (18th), 2003: 10.4 (7th). Besides the aberration of 2002—no doubt partially due to his rocky relationship with owner Russ Power—Clemens has been an elite pitcher. By passing on another year of his services for $14 million, the Cactus Franks forced their own hand into signing over $23 million to Curt Schilling. Not that Schilling has disappointed, but he hasn't been $9 million better than the future HOFer he replaced. Also, consider the hefty price tags across the league for Barry Zito ($22), Bartolo Colon ($16), and Javier Vazquez ($20.75), and the dude who gave all his kids names beginning with the letter "K" looks like a pretty decent bargain. Ah, retrospect, you got me again.