Even after a full day, I still have mixed emotions about seeing Andy Pettitte return to the New York Yankees.
I was in Pittsburgh watching Syracuse play in the NCAA tournament when I first heard the news about Pettitte’s un-retirement and I couldn’t have been happier. I was so excited that I vowed to be there for his first start back, regardless of the cost. But then Pettitte testified in the Roger Clemens trial, giving his friend a potential out by all of a sudden claiming there was a 50-50 chance he was mistaken about what Clemens told him, even though he was certain about what he heard the day before. All that excitement was gone in an instant, replaced with anger that Pettitte would bend the truth in such a way to save someone who doesn’t deserve to be saved.
Watching Pettitte pitch again on Sunday was by far the most confusing time. I refused to attend the game in person to support him because of what he said and did on the witness stand. And I wasn’t giving him a standing ovation at home either or cheering for him when he first took the mound. But just watching on television every time he got a batter out or induced a ground-ball double play, I felt the rush of positive emotions that I always felt watching him pitch during his glory days. It’s a classic case of old habits dying hard.
However, every warm feeling was always quickly followed by a reminder of how much damage Pettitte’s suddenly faulty memory did to the government’s case against Clemens. That has completed changed my opinion of Pettitte as a person, who once was one of my favorites largely because he seemed like such a good, honest guy. But he will now find himself, for me, in Alex Rodriguez territory, a baseball player I merely tolerate because the Yankees need him to do well if they are going to be successful.
While I will root for Pettitte to do well for the Yankees’ sake, he will no longer get my unconditional support as he had before. I just don’t think he deserves it anymore.