“We’re living in some strange times, aren’t we?” my old friend Rick O’Shea asked me as he stirred his coffee absently. We were sitting at a corner table in our favorite coffee shop, resting our elbows on the crumbs of the booth’s previous occupants. Rick raised his steaming cup to his lips, paused, and then put the cup onto the table and continued, “Everyone told me that this war was about oil, yet gas is about a buck more per gallon than milk. The President’s approval rating is so low that it seems like people wish the war had been about oil. Our elected officials continue to claim that the oil companies aren’t doing anything wrong, yet somehow those same oil companies keep earning record profits.

“Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power and just last week they threatened that if we try to stop them from having the ability to blow up everybody, they’ll blow up Israel. Our Vice President shot some guy a while back and then told the police in no uncertain terms that they shouldn’t show up to investigate until they were invited. The country is divided severely on the issue of illegal aliens; politicians on one side and citizens on the other. Worst of all, I can’t turn on the television without seeing some program that gushes about the day to day lives of celebrities. What with everything going on in the world, the only way I can sleep at night is with the faith that Roger Clemens is going to sign with the Yankees.”

Rick, think about it: Roger is going to want to stay closer to home. He’ll sign with the Houston Astros and dominate the National League, just like last year.

“Closer to home? Isn’t that the reason that he gave when he decided not to sign with Boston back in 1996 before signing about as far away from home as possible, Toronto, and turning his career around? Roger only cares about the size of the paycheck, and the Yankees have the deepest pockets.”

I wonder about his career rebirth. Jose Canseco admitted that he took steroids in 1988, and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa looked like offensive linemen when they had the homerun chase in 1998; do you think there’s any chance that Roger had some outside help when he turned his career around in 1997?

“Does it matter at this point? A guy with a head the size of New Zealand is about to pass Babe Ruth on the all time homerun list and there are still reporters out there who want to celebrate him. Heck, ESPN devotes an entire show and a sizeable chunk of their SportsCenter shows to old Big Head Barry. The only thing that matters these days are championships and Roger is going to return the Yankees to their rightful position at the top of the league.”

I would be surprised if the Red Sox allow big George and the Yankees to write the biggest check.

“Why would the Red Sox pony up that kind of money? Is it going to help them to sell any more seats when all the seats are already sold? They’ll make an offer that’s just low enough for them to save face, but in the end they won’t come up with the dough.”

Nah, Roger knows that if he comes back to Boston he’ll be a returning hero. If he wins the World Series for the Sox, all of his years with the Yankees will be forgiven and they’ll build a statue for him on Yawkey Way.

“That’s what I love about you Red Sox fans. That New England overdeveloped sense of romance. He’ll go to New York and add his name to the list of Yankee players who dashed the hopes of Red Sox Nation: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone…and Roger Clemens.”

Stop living in the past. We are living in the Big Papi Era now. Gas prices may be high, our country may be at war, we might not be able to watch TV without seeing Britney Spears, but when Big Papi is at the plate, everything seems just fine.