The ever-popular partial season

December 03, 2008 - 5:58 am

Perhaps Roger Clemens was onto something...No, not that kind of something. Think back to the period following Clemens' second "retirement," following a wildly successful run in 2004-05 with his hometown Houston Astros. Clemens announced first that he would not pitch, but then started saying that a lot of teams were making it awfully hard for him to remain retired. The result was Clemens-palooza, a months-long saga at the start of both the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The pitcher declared himself fit to handle the workload of only partial baseball seasons. He went on a soul-searching journey--to retire and walk away from $10+ million, or to pitch?--as he was courted by the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers in both of those seasons. The journey was sufficient to produce more than a few rolls of the eyes. But while there was a certain degree of absurdity in the process, it now seems that Clemens may have been a harbinger. Curt Schilling (shameless plug: No. 38 is now writing for this very website!) has made clear that, if he returns to baseball in 2009, it will be for a partial season. Ty Law jumped into the fray for the Jets against the Patriots a couple of weeks ago and promptly helped to shut down Randy Moss for a full game (a development that Michael Felger (shameless plug No. 2!) deemed puke-worthy). Now, the Patriots are going to that same well of quasi-retired, out-of-work athletes. New England signed Rosevelt Colvin (as first reported by both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald), who hasn't played in a regular-season game since Nov. 25, 2007, when he suffered a season-ending foot injury. Colvin was with the Texans in training camp this year, but was cut before the regular season, and has been at home ever since. With a defense that is soft just about everywhere thanks to injuries on the defensive line (Ty Warren), linebacker (Adalius Thomas) and secondary (Rodney Harrison, Terence Wheatley, etc.), the Pats have turned to a familiar presence in hopes that he might be able to contribute. At the very least, Colvin knows the defensive system that he'll be entering, and so the signing seems a low-risk move with at least some possibility of payoff--both for the Pats, and for Colvin, who can start collecting paychecks again (and won't simply have to rely on his UPS Store and sales of pink Colvin jerseys for income). Yet more broadly, the move would appear a boon to those who believe that playing a full season is, you know, a bit too taxing on one's time.