Two months into the season, Roger Clemens decided he will pitch for the Houston Astros. When he finally pitches his first game, in about three weeks, he'll begin earning a prorated amount of a $22 million contract (in a similar vein, the Yankees won't pay A-Rod after Oct. 10).
Look, it's not just about the money. Of course, the high salary isn't the only provision the Astros had to offer Roger to entice him to pitch another season. Some other key clauses in the contract:
• Roger is only required to pitch in months with an R in them. He is not required to pitch on Easter Sunday or Yom Kippur, nor during Lent and Ramadan, nor during government holidays. He will not pitch in the rain. He will not pitch when the temperature is above 76 or below 75. He will not pitch when the wind is blowing out at more than 4.473 miles per hour. He will pitch only when the Astros say, "Simon says."
• Roger will not pitch in a box. He will not pitch with a fox. He will not pitch in a boat. He will not pitch with a goat. He will not pitch in a house. He will not pitch with a mouse. He will not pitch here or there, he will not pitch anywhere. Nor will he eat green eggs and ham, he will not eat them, Sam-I-Am.
• On days Roger pitches, all his teammates will change their names to ones that begin with the letter K. They will not look him in the eye, as this will interpreted as a sign of aggression. They will also not light matches in his presence, as he is afraid of fire. He will be allowed to urinate in his locker to mark his territory.
• Roger will be allowed to have his family on the mound with him whenever he pitches.
• Roger will be paid his weight in gold bullion and sapphires. He will be weighed after the postgame spread.
• Despite coming out of retirement again, Roger still will be allowed to draw his retirement pension.
• Roger is required only to pitch at home, which is defined as the backyard of his house. He is willing to pitch at Minute Maid Park, but only with the roof closed, the air conditioning on and the lights off.
• Roger also reserves the right to go into Minute Maid Park wearing a Yankees cap.
• Roger will make occasional road trips, but only to the cool cities -- such as San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago and New York -- not the lousy ones like Milwaukee and Cincinnati. His family, six Hummers and house must be transferred to each city, as well.
• The Astros will fly in Anna Benson for Roger's scheduled starts so she can flash her breasts for luck when he leaves the bulllpen.
• Most important, Roger reserves the right to pitch only for winners. On the days the Astros play a team with a higher winning percentage, Roger is allowed to switch uniforms and pitch for the opponent. Similarly, should the Astros fall behind in any game Roger is pitching, he may elect to change sides the next inning, with the proviso that should the Astros regain the lead, he will resume pitching for them.