Tim Wakefield, #49, knuckle ball pitcher extraordinaire retired today from the Boston Red Sox and from major league baseball. He had the distinction of being the oldest active Red Sox player as well as being the one with the most longevity with the sox. Obviously being a knuckleball pitcher helped out here. Throwing the ball at 60 mph instead of 90 mph will indeed prevent burn out.
BYE WAKE. Mama's gonna miss you, your blue eyes and they way you filled out your uniform. *sigh*
You see, I LOVED Wakefield for over a decade. Yes I said loved, and I'm not one to throw the EL word around. Anyway, I heard the news earlier in work. My minions here ran over to my office as soon as word was out. My love for Wake was well known everywhere including the office because if he was pitching, I'd get first dibs on leftover (free) sox tix. :)
Gary, as you can see from his post, thought of me immediately as well and emailed me. Below is the exchange:
Gary: I just heard the news – I’m so sorry. I’m going to create a post asking people to be extra nice to you because you’re likely emotionally fragile right now.
Josie: What the heck are you talking about?
Josie: Is this a bad joke?
Josie: Ohhhh Wakfield!!! It IS a bad joke. he's old and he retired - get over it.
Gary: hey – he doesn’t make ME all squidgy below decks. I was offering compassion.
Josie: LOL Well thank you for the compassion. Much appreciated. Obv we knew it was coming. You SURE he doesn't make you squidgy?
Gary: look, maybe a little, but he is devastatingly handsome.
Heh. That he is. Now even though I'd heard the news mebbe twenty minutes before this exchange, I put it completely out of my head and it took me a couple of minutes to figure out what/who Gary was talking about.
Why? Well it's me, not him. I wonder if it's my Sicilian nature. :) After a decade of loving him from afar (and sometimes closeup, praise Jesus) he pissed me off. Once he did that, I just never felt the same way. Let that be a lesson to you boys!
I go koo-koo crazy for celebrities and sports figures and went nuts whenever I met him for a signing. The second to last signing I saw him at was a big one. Practically the whole team was there and each had a little table set up where they'd sign and fans would go from player to player. Me? Not so much. I got my autograph, and then a photo taken with him *sigh* and after that, just stayed beside him and watched him up close for the rest of the day. I chose that eperience over standing in line and getting other autographs and it was the right choice. :) Instead of standing at the back of the line, he said I could stand next to him and his table and watch him sign the many items. (!) Awwwwwwwesome. Helluva day and memory. Poor guy def thought I was a crazy lady, kept laughing at my ridiculous fawning and was very nice.
Later on I got my photo of he and I together printed out and wanted THAT signed. He was at a small signing that my friend was going to so Evan and I went as well. Evan was very small at the time - prolly 7 yrs old - maybe 8. Evan was standing in line to get a photo with him and didn't really know what to do. When Evan's turn was up, he didn't immediately run to Wake....he was like a deer in the headlights. Wake started YELLING at him to hurry up, that he didn't have all day. If I didn't see it myself, I wouldn't have believed it but I did and I was crushed.
Of course, not so crushed that I didn't want my photo of him and me signed. I did. When I got to him I started chatting ad nauseum (I love you Wake!) and then he proceeded to sign the photo. In the photo he was wearing a black shirt and he grabbed a black sharpie to sign it....even though he had every color of the rainbow in front of him. Just as he started I yelped "Stop! It's not showing up! Can you use a different color/"
He said NO and kept on signing.
He signed in black ON THE BLACK SHIRT. Can't even fucking see it unless you angle the photo just so, and yes I still have said photo. He and I went back and forth on this a bit (as I'm sure you can imagine) but he refused to sign it again.
I was crushed at the way he yelled at Evan mostly, as well as crushed by his lack of concern for what I thought was a precious item. I mean I KNOW it wasn't precious to him, but it was obviously precious to me.
It wasn't a conscious thing, but ever since, I just felt meh about him. I still enjoyed watching his knuckleball dance, and enjoyed games where he pitched but the "ga-ga" was gone gone. Still is. I respect what he's done for the Sox and his game but he doesn't reside in the uber tiny Grinch like heart of Very Josie anymore. Done. I'm sure it's the Sicilian in me.
That doesn't negate his awesomeness as a pitcher though.