On a day when most headlines wi..."/>

On a day when most headlines wi..."/>

On a day when most headlines wi..."/>

Wakefield’s Impact On and Off the Field

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On a day when most headlines will speak of the three big name signings in MLB, Xavier Nady, Ben Sheets, and Jon Garland, a Tim Wakefield acheivement, like most in his career, will get overlooked. At the B.A.T. (Baseball Assistance Team) Dinner in New York tonight, Wakefield will be honored with the Giamatti Award. Back in 2000, watching Wakefield pitch from the Infield Box at Fenway Park, I learned what it meant to be a real baseball fan.

Sitting in what was then called the Upper Box at Fenway Park, I watched Tim Wakefield float his knuckleball and make the Oakland Athletics look foolish. Wake went 7 innings, won 7-2 and made me a lasting impression on me and my sports obsession. I was always taught about the Red Sox and baseball, but on July 9th, 2000, I realized on my own that I wanted baseball to be more than just a casual thought.

Since that day, I have watched thousands of Sox games and have spent hundreds of hours reading  and, more recently, writing about the franchise. My obsession has grown and my appreciation of Tim Wakefield has grown with it. His ability to walk out to the mound every 5 days and throw crazy, floating, anti-gravity pitches has always astounded me.

It is extremely rare in today’s sports world for a player to stay with a team for longer than a handful of seasons. Wakefield, as in most areas of his career, is the exception to the rule. His career record of 189-162 and 1979 K’s in 15 seasons with the Sox is incredible, but it is Wake’s contributions off that field that make him such an asset to the city of Boston.

Tim Wakefield has made focusing on charity work a priority throughout his career, creating the Wakefield Warriors Program in partnership with the Franciscan Hospital for Children and the Jimmy Fund in 1998. Throughout his career, the Red Sox have nominated Wakefield 7 times for the Roberto Clemente Award, which is given to the player that “recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”

Tim Wakefield is a role model for fans, players and management alike. Wake is invaluable member of the Sox on and off the field and deserves every accolade he receives. Tonight will be special for Wake because he will be recognized for his contributions to the community. Hats off to you, Wake, you deserve it. I look forward to watching you pitch in Boston for the rest of your career.