Thursday, August 4, 2011

I've got my SOX on

My favorite Red Sox player is Tim Wakefield.  I do have alot of favorites but he's the ultimate for me and has been for about a decade.  No it's not because he's so gosh darn handsome but that certainly doesn't hurt.  It's because whenever he's hurling his crazy knuckleball you know it's going to be an interesting game.  It either goes South really fast or no one can hit him.

Last night Wake was pitching and attempting to get his 200th career win.  (that's alot of wins!) He ended up with a no decision because he got pulled when they were tied 3-3, dammit.  Of course I do agree that he needed the hook but I wanted to see him get his milestone win. 

The sox did go onto win the game thanks to a Jacoby Ellsbury walk off homerun.  (and NO Hoy, he's not on the juice)  He's damn cute too though but perhaps not the brightest bulb on the christmas tree.

A few years ago I was down in Fort Meyers at the minor league training complex which is at a different location that the City of Palms Park, where the sox play their games.  Anyway, this was the spring before Ellsbury's rookie year with the sox.  In work, we had a monthly newsletter where I'd ask a Red Sox trivia question and whoever got it right would get some sox memorabilia. (I have loads)  I told the winner, my friend Nicole, that I'd get her an autograph of whoever she wanted while I was in Ft Meyers and she told me to try to get Jacoby Ellsbury's.  I'd never heard of him at that point but she said he was going to be big.

Fast forward to the training facility.  There were dozens of pitchers all congregated and I decided to find out if this Jacoby guy was there.  I asked a few young things and they pointed me in the right direction.  It was funny because he was really no big thing.  Just a young cute kid running hard in the sun with a small parachute tied to his back.  I guess they do that to make the run a little more challenging.

When he was done he was told that I wanted to meet him and he came right over.  (so sweet)  It was funny because there were fans around but NO ONE wanted his autograph so we chatted for quite a while.  I told him that I wanted him to sign the ball to my friend "Nicole".  And then he asks.......

"How do you spell Nicole?" 

Um, really?  LOL  I thought it was a kinda dumb funny question but spelled her name for him and he nicely signed the ball, and then took a photo with me and the ball.  I never got an autograph for myself because I had no desire to get an unknown on a major league baseball, although I'm kicking myself now.  Those balls are expensive!  And that day at the training facility I met.....

Dwight Evans
Theo Epstein
Rich Garces
Louie Tiant

So I wasn't wasting a baseball on that kid.  Dumb!  Boy can Nicole pick them, huh?

As I was saying, I met Yaz.  Yaz is a very unhappy and angry man IMHO.  Every day he'd walk the perimeter of the training facility for exercise and no one was allowed to go near him or talk to him.  You could go up to anyone else there though.  As we were watching his morning walk the other fans were talking and saying how Yaz just does NOT sign autographs.  He won't do it.  Yesterday there was a fan in a wheel chair who dared talk to him and ask and Yaz replied that the handicapped man could wait and he'd be back in an hour if the guy really wanted the autograph.  The guy in the wheelchair waited for three hours and Yaz never came back.

Of course, I was determined to get the autograph even more after hearing that story.  There was only ONE opportunity.  When Yaz finished his perimeter walk he had to cross over a common area to get to the showers and stuff.  He had about 20 yards to cross where I had access to him and I was waiting.  As soon as he came into the common area I started walking beside him and made my pitch....

"....I know I don't look old enough but I've been a fan of your since I was 10 yrs old.  I was at the last game you played at Fenway.  I know you don't give autographs but this would be special to me and I'd never forget it.  My dad's a big fan of yours too and I want to show him your autograph.  Can you sign just this one for me?" 

All this garbled while jog/walking beside him.  He stopped right at the door as he pulled it open and said "Okay give me the ball."

I did and a ton of fans behind us looked shocked, especially my buddy Brian. Heh. Yaz signed the ball and disappeared into the building before anyone else had the audacity to speak to him.

The ball lives in my son's room now and whenever I see it I smile.



Memphis MOJO said...

i was watching the game and the fans booed Francona when he went out to take him out.

Josie said...

Yeah but Francona made the right move for a change.

PokahDave said...

according to Hoy Tim Wakefield MUST be on the juice because Ortiz and Manny took PED's.

Josie said...

Ya, he looks like he's on the juice. (that's sarcasm)

Hoy's just jealous because he HAS to be a phillies fan instead of an awesome fenway faithful.

The Neophyte said...

A knuckleballer on the juice? It would be like giving the Elephant Man a facelift. You could do it but would it really help? I've always admired Wakefield. He's there whenever you need someone to throw, and it really saves the staff when you know you can give him the ball every 4 or 5 games.

Josie said...

Exactly Neo. I mean does he need the juice to throw 60 mph? And you're right - he can eat up innings when needed.

Bayne_S said...

Dewey Evans is still my fav amongst the Red Sox.

I have been meaning to ask him to sign a ball he hit for a home run just never know when I might get the chance

Josie said...

Yeah Dewey rocks. Hell of an arm on him. He's an unofficial batting coach for the sox now.

PokahDave said...

Jim Rice and Dewey were the best...I was pissed off when the sox didn't sign him through the rest of his career.

lightning36 said...

Didn't you post the Yaz story once before? I remembered thinking how sad it was that he seems to be such an grouch when there are so many fans who adore him.

I know that spring training is the big time for fans and players to interact, but I do not blame the players for not wanting to sign sometimes because of the obnoxious pests who are constantly looking to sell autographs on the secondary market.

Josie said...

Jim Ed Rice was def the best.

sevencard2003 said...

josie u commented on a blog of mine the other day, i accidently hit the wrong button on my iphone and it deleted it instead of posting it. please resubmit it, because after i deleted in err, it wouldnt let me fix it and hit post.