07/12/2004 2:33 PM ET
Clemens holds court at FanFest
Roger Clemens recently held a baseball fundamentals clinic on The Diamond at John Hancock All-Star FanFest for kids from a local Boys and Girls Club.
By Michael McHugh / Special to MLB.com
The bleachers were packed with fans, who listened as the future Hall of Famer gave pointers on proper pitching techniques and held a Q & A with the audience as he pitched to kids at the plate.
Clemens' four sons, Koby, Kory, Kacy, and Kody, helped the Rocket out with the clinic by fielding balls and playing catcher.
Several people asked the same question: "How do you get kids in shape to be good ballplayers and pitchers?" The answer: "Head-to-toe stretching, lots of push-ups, sit ups, and playing long catch to get loose."
Clemens told the crowd that playing at home was a dream. He said the four K's, meaning his four sons, keep him very busy.
Clemens' wife, Debbie, and his mother made an appearance at the clinic. Debbie Clemens had a booth at FanFest where she was selling Roger Clemens collectibles, including her own line of specialties for the Roger Clemens Foundation. (Check out my top ten list).
One kid asked Clemens what Astros catcher Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Burt Hooton say when they go to the mound to talk to him. "Burt doesn't say much, he just comes to give me a rest, and I can't repeat what Brad says," replied Clemens
The pitchers Clemens most enjoys watching are Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and Roy Oswalt. He admires their abilities, and thinks they are tops in the game.
Movement, velocity and location are important to be a good power pitcher, said Clemens, but balance is important as well. He joked that you know it's windy at Minute Maid Park when you see Jeff Bagwell's baggy pants flapping in the wind, and takes that as a sign that it's time to make adjustments.
Time ran out quickly, and fans packed around the exit. The Rocket briefly stopped by his wife's booth before leaving.
I would say that people learned a lot from the clinic, which was a once-in-a lifetime experience.
Michael McHugh is a student at Friendswood (Texas) Junior High and is a special contributor to MLB.com. He will provide special coverage of the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.