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Showing he had absolutely no scruples, Clemens turned up in the owner’s box at Yankee Stadium and signed on for one more partial season in New York.

All along the way, he played the diva role better than Mariah Carey, demanding and getting all sorts of special perks. When his supposed team went on the road, he got to stay at home if it wasn’t his turn to pitch. Other players grumbled, realizing Clemens was all in, but only for himself.

We may have marveled at his age-defying skills, but he always seemed like the last guy you’d want to invite over for dinner _ surly and detached. A fraud who once complained about having to carry his own bags. An egomaniac whose kids all have names beginning with the letter K, as in strikeout.

What happened over the last five years forever doused the Rocket’s sizzle for many of us.

He had a starring role in the Mitchell Report, the investigation of steroid use in baseball. He went before Congress to vehemently deny ever being involved in that sort of chicanery, though it sure seemed to explain how he was just as overpowering _ if not more so _ in his 40s as he had been in his 20s. Unrelated, there were also allegations of a long-term affair with troubled country singer Mindy McCready that began when she was in her teens, further sullying a player who always portrayed himself as a family man.

In fairness to Clemens, marital infidelity is hardly unique and he never tested positive for performance enhancers. His main accuser was about as credible as Pee Wee Herman starring in “The Sopranos,” which is surely why the jury delivered its verdict _ not guilty, on all counts. That’s also why, in keeping with the American tradition of jurisprudence, we must refrain from lumping Clemens in with all the other admitted dopers from one of baseball’s darkest eras. (And, just in case you were wondering, the Atlantic League has the same drug-testing procedures and penalties as the affiliated minor leagues, according to Joe Klein, the executive director.)

That said, we have no desire to see Clemens don another big league uniform, which is surely what this is all about. He tries to downplay this latest comeback as nothing more than a one-off, a chance to bring a little cheer to his Houston-area fans, but we’re not fooled. There will surely be big league scouts in the stands Saturday night, eager to see if the Rocket has anything left in that right arm. Even if it’s just enough to pitch an inning or two at a time, there would likely be a contending team with contract in hand, ready to feed his ego and sign him up for a playoff run.

“If you’re going to go and play, the one thing on his mind is trying to get back to the major leagues,” said Tony DeFrancesco, interim manager of the Houston Astros.

Clemens repeatedly shrugged off that sort of talk.

“I’m nowhere near where I need to be to compete the way I want,” he insisted. “We just want to have some fun.”

Cynically, we wonder if Clemens has other motives for going back to the mound. He’s eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot this winter, but there are surely plenty of voters unwilling to put a check beside his name, innocent verdict or not. If he’s turned down once, it might be easier to keep voting him down, as is the case with Mark McGwire.

But, if Clemens makes it back to the big leagues, the five-year window for Cooperstown eligibility starts over. Maybe some of the hard feelings will have softened by 2017 or 2018, especially if Clemens has tacked on one more comeback, the most improbable one of all, to his resume.

It’s all too much to take.

Please, Roger, go away.

This time for good.

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