Tim Wakefield Retires
Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2012 12:02
So this is terribly old news by now but with the launching of this blog I couldn't exclude one of the most important (to me, and most Sox fans I assume) sports stories of recent times. I've been a Sox fan since I was about 6 years old, and seen all kinds of players come and go. I have a particular place in my heart for the 1998 team though. It was the first year where I really started to understand baseball and started to recognize the bigger names on the club. In 98 they had many of my all-time favorites including: Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Brian Daubach, Mo Vaughn, Trot Nixon, Loooouuu Merloni, Jason Varitek, Tom Gordon, Nomahhh, and of course the unforgettable El Guapo.
Everyone listed above has either retired or gone to different teams in the nearly decade and a half since I watched my first baseball soar over the Green Monster (back when it still had netting, courtesy of another forgotten favorite, Troy O' Leary). But Wakefield and Varitek were the stalwarts. Always there, always performing, always team leaders, one hundred percent Red Sox. With Varitek seemingly on the way out as well, seeing the departure of these two tenured class acts makes for a mournful day in Boston. With the recent failings and general "I don't give a shit, just pay me" attitude that has permeated the last few Red Sox teams, Wake and Tek were our constant reminder that some did indeed care.
The Sox have fallen out of favor in my Boston sport's hierarchy, and sit in a faraway dead last behind the Pats, Celtics, and Bruins. The attitudes of some players (Not naming any JOHNLACKY! names) and the approach of the ownership have turned me off, and with Wakefield gone there is one less voice of reason in what seems to be a fractured locker room full of maybe one too many entitled whiners. We'll soon see if the winning attitudes of players like Adrian Gonzalez, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, and Clay Buchholz can right the ship again under new skipper Bobby Valentine.
As for Wakefield; his retirement video left me sad and a little choked up (it basically personified the end of yet another chapter from my childhood). He was THE quintessential Red Sox player to me, and I'm ecstatic he was very much involved with the curse-breaking team of 2004 and the cherry-on-top title of 2007. I was also ecstatic when he got his 200th win, which was fittingly his last win. He was a type of pitcher, scratch that – player, we'll probably never see again; one of the nastiest knucklers in the history of baseball. I'm fairly certain he's also the only pitcher in history who I could out-gun on a fastball. I think I can speak for all fans when I say: good luck Wake, and thanks for the memories.