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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

Feb. 10, 2005

We may not have any fireworks or rockets exploding Friday night at our season opener against Cincinnati, but come February 26th, The Rocket will blast off for Boca Raton.

Roger Clemens has agreed to appear at our 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner. The greatest Major League pitcher of his generation, or in history, will be the featured speaker in a night which also includes Dontrelle Willis and Juan Pierre of the Florida Marlins. Former Major Leaguer, and Marlins announcer, Tommy Hutton will emcee the evening's festivities. We got him pretty cheap...his son Derek is our team captain.

How did FAU get Roger Clemens?

I'd love to say that Roger's an avid reader of this diary and just wanted to meet me, but who would be dumb enough to buy into that story? The truth is that freshman pitcher Matt Dunn and his father, Glenn, have been friends of Roger since his years with the Red Sox. Matt has been on vacation with Koby Clemens, and is like part of the family.

When assistant coach Tony Fossas had the idea for a fundraising dinner, I asked Tommy Hutton for his help in securing Dontrelle, who then snagged JP for company. Tony told me of Matt's friendship with Clemens and suggested I speak with Mr. Dunn. I really don't like asking people for these kinds of favors anyway, but ROGER CLEMENS???

Mr. Dunn made the call early in December. Since his contract was still up in the air, Roger did not want to commit publicly, but assured Mr. Dunn he wanted to help. Every night I was watching the ticker on Sports Center, looking for word of Clemens' signing.

After he announced his agreement to play another season, I waited two weeks and hesitantly phoned Mr. Dunn. He assured me he would make another call and we both held our breath.

On Tuesday we exhaled. The Rocket was on the launch pad. We could count on him to do whatever to help Matt and his teammates. The last few days have been a whirl of activity, designing and proofreading invitations and press releases, planning the dinner, and the auction, etc.

Usually this week is hectic and sleepless because the season opener is Friday.

I haven't even hung our bunting.

What are our players' names?

No problem. We've got tomorrow.

More importantly, we've got The Rocket. KC



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