As ESPN.com points out, tonight start in the World Baseball Classic could be the last of Roger Clemens' career.
The last one? The very last? This could very possibly maybe be good-bye for one of the game's all-time great pitchers?
Certainly maybe? Maybe certainly?
The entire population of St. Petersburg, Florida isn't milking retirement like this.
The 2003 World Series was supposed to be Clemens' farewell. Then he un-retired to pitch for Houston. Then 2004 was the end for Clemens, but he hemmed and hawed and decided to return for one more year.
Then the 2005 World Series was supposed to be Clemens' swan song. But then he heeded the patriotic call and suited up for Team USA in the WBC.
So how about the end of the 2006 season, when Clemens inevitably decides to suit up for Houston for one more year? Or Boston? Or the Yankees?
It's like "Night of the Living Dead." How many more times is Clemens going to be exhumed?
The East Coast media certainly isn't complaining. Perpetuating the Clemens rumor mill generates interest and drives up sales. But I find it irritating.
Sure, Clemens still has the ability to pitch in the bigs, even as he closes in on 45 years of age. Sure, Nolan Ryan was still pitching at Clemens' age. But Ryan made up his mind, retired once, and that was it.
Persistent retiring and un-retiring is in vogue among superstars, it seems. Magic Johnson was the trendsetter. He un-retired twice, with a coaching stint mixed in.
Michael Jordan also un-retired twice with a soiree with baseball and a stint as an NBA executive mixed in.
Dennis Rodman un-retired twice, and probably would again. Rickey Henderson un-retired at least once. And now Clemens could very well un-retire for the third straight season.
So pardon me if a take ESPN.com's claim of Clemens' last start with more than a grain of salt. I'll try a salt mine.