Can you imagine the back-page howling had Roger Clemens returned to Boston or Houston? Brian Cashman and George Steinbrenner just can’t win with the New York Post’s Mike “Don’t Call Me Brenda” Vaccaro, who declares that with the Rocket’s perks, the Yanks “sold their collective history – and all the moral authority that allegedly went with it – down the Harlem River.”  Steve Howe and Dwight Gooden were unavailable for comment.

The Yankees are just like everyone else, it turns out. Push them far enough, frighten them deep enough, and they’ll resort to flimsy on-the-fly standards just like everyone else. Those pinstripes, which Yankees and Yankees fans alike have viewed as some kind of moral shield for decades?

They’re just stripes now.

Same as the Cubs wear on their home uniforms. Same as the Mets wear, occasionally, on their home uniforms. The Yankees have officially surrendered the right to act self-righteous and superior now. They’re just like everyone else. When the pressure hits a certain level, they’ll squander their stack like Tony Soprano on a gambling jag.
Let it ride, and to hell with the Yankee Way.

Clemens gets to come and gets to go as he pleases now, gets to spend his off days however he wants. He would have you believe he spends those days in the warmth of hearth and home, although Phil Garner claimed on the radio yesterday afternoon that Clemens sometimes opts for golfing junkets far away from Katy, Texas.

You know what? Good for Clemens. You can’t rip him for wanting this, for wanting to make his own hours, which is the dream for every working stiff in America. Good for Clemens. Shame on the Yankees, who will have to grin and bear Clemens’ whims, because he isn’t likely to wear a monitoring device on his ankle on the days he’s away from the team.

Shame on the Yankees, who took great delight in reminding the world they weren’t about to listen to any of Alex Rodriguez’s perceived demands when they acquired him a few years ago. All that 24-and-1 talk that emanated from A-Rod’s failed dalliance with the Mets in 2001; the Yankees sneered at that, smugly declared they never would allow a tail to wag them that way.