Why Wakefield Should Know How Mirabelli Feels
It doesn't have to be Game 7 of the ALCS 2003. It can be mid-July in 1997, the Sox are going nowhere, but Wakefield on the mound will send me into fits anxiety and indigestion like no other pitcher. I mean, at least with Wasdin, you just know that dinger is coming. But with that knuckleball, all bets are off.
Timothy Wakefield has gotten a lot of crap from me, and most of it unfairly. However, since that crap is usually flung at a TV screen, or from my seats waaaaaaaay back in the Fenway bleachers, I feel safe in saying it hasn't really troubled him. Also, for all of my lamenting, he has made an appearence on all two of my fantasy teams, precisely for the reason the Sox just essentially signed him for life. Wakefield is a stand up guy who can and will pitch for his team whenever it's asked of him. Even when he's being handed a big ole gopher ball in Game 7 of the ALCS.
Let's talk about that Game 7 for a second. This is the same pitcher who killed the Yankees in two previous starts that series when Pedro and staff were faltering. Wakefield was poised to be the hero of the long sought after Pennant Win for Boston. Then Grady Little happened. Giving Wake that ball AFTER the Yankees tied was the most unfair gesture I've witnessed in the game. "Wow, Tim, we really got ourselves in a jam. Go out there and hold these Yanks off until we can score. And don't sweat it. If we lose, there's always next year. The fans won't mind. I'll be rooting for you from my getaway car." No, Wake, you didn't need to worry about being labled the New Buckner. We cried with you.
Yes, he will give up those dingers. In fact, he's given up the most of any pitcher in a Red Sox uniform. But he also has his All- Star seasons, his stretches when he's just unhittable, and damn if it isn't nice to have that arm to go to in when a game goes to 16 innings and-we-know-you-started-yesterday-but-we-could-really-use-
you-in-there-to-eat-up-some-innings-gee-thanks. So congrats to Wakefield on his new contract, and may we have many years and bottles of Tums together. And duck when you see my crap coming.