Roger Clemens and Oil Can Boyd really did pitch against each other in a baseball game this week
While there was MLB postseason action between the Royals and Blue Jays in Toronto and the Mets and Cubs in Chicago on Tuesday, there was another playoff game going down in Arizona featuring both Roger Clemens and Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd.
The Men's Senior Baseball League, the largest amateur baseball league in America, is in the midst of its 2015 50-and-up World Series tournament, and there were a number of stars on hand for this one as Clemens' Houston Old Stars beat Boyd's Boston Wolf Pack, 4-1.
But they weren't the only former pros in the game. The Old Stars featured former big leaguers Woody Williams and Rodney McCray (yes, this one), along with a number of former college baseball players from the Texas area. The Boston Wolf Pack had a number of former pros, too -- with Ray Chadwick (who is also the father of USWNT-star Sydney Leroux) and German Rivera filling out the roster. In the past, Doug Flutie has played with the team.
And, the old big leaguers have still got it: Williams, playing third base, nailed a Wolf Pack runner at the plate on Tuesday -- not surprising given his career as a pitcher.
But, the big matchup was Clemens and the always quotable Boyd. In fact, Clemens even had a single against Boyd that started the three-run inning, giving Houston its margin of victory.
Check out highlights from the game below:
Talking to MLB.com before the game, Boyd, who pitched a complete game in the loss and has been taking part in the league for the last 15 years, shared his excitement for the matchup: "I get a chance to face Roger in a ballgame. I've never played against him, at all, in the Major Leagues. It's going to be fun. He's still playing and that's still special in and of itself."
As for why he and Clemens are taking part in the amateur match, despite their big league pedigree, Boyd said, "We're the type of people who love the game."
Though time may have sapped some life off his fastball, Boyd wasn't looking to go easy against these hitters. "Nothing's changed," he said about the arsenal he'd be using on the mound. "[I'll pitch] like I always have, maybe with a little bit of velocity off. But, other than that, everything stays the same. I'm gonna move the ball around, pitch inside, pitch off of the plate, run the ball, move the ball, change speeds on the ball."
Not only does Boyd still enjoy pitching, but he was also looking forward to getting to take a few hacks against the Rocket, just like everyone else. "I'm hoping to have that chance to get that at-bat against him, because just like everybody else, I want to hit against Roger Clemens."
He knew that his teammates wouldn't necessarily have such a great time stepping into the plate: One of the things Boyd was looking forward to was "watching the guys hit against him who have never hit against him and see what they say. It won't be as much fun as you think."
The appeal for these former big leaguers isn't just taking some swings at the plate, but also moving around the field. Andy Allen, a coach/outfielder of the Old Stars, revealed that not only did Clemens pitch again on Monday, the day before his start against Boyd, but he also started a triple play at third base during the game, too.
Not that we should be surprised, though. As Boyd said, "Roger is super bulldog competitive. Sixty-five percent of what he could do is still at a high level."
As for which current player Boyd sees himself the most in, the answer was easy. And just like Boyd, he's got quite the gift of the gab:
"He throws harder than I did, but I like the kid, Chris Archer. He reminds me of myself 100 percent. He doesn't throw a big overhand curveball, but his mannerisms and the way he plays the game and how competitive he is and how high-spirited he is. He reminds me of myself."
If we can get a Boyd - Clemens matchup in 2015, then surely we can get an Archer - Boyd matchup in the offseason, right? I can't imagine a better way to spend the cold, baseball-free months than with this exhibition.