"I knew this was going to happen, but I was hoping not today."
-John Mellencamp, et. al.
It's the end of an era in the history of Boston sports, my friends. One of baseball's most durable pitchers, the rubber-armed Tim Wakefield, one of only a handful of pitchers to notch 200 victories in his career, announced today that he would be retiring from baseball and from the team for whom most of those wins were notched, the Boston Red Sox.
Wakefield started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who, displaying the incredible baseball acumen that led to a million straight losing seasons, waived him. The Red Sox picked him up in 1993 and his first full season with the team he went 16-8 with a 2.95 ERA. His career was officially off and running with the red and white.
He was a starter, a closer, a reliever, and probably a team mascot somewhere in there as well. He is one of a precious few players to have won rings in the 2004 and 2007 campaigns, both of which were marked with personal sacrifice; in 2004 he volunteered for mopup duty in the 19-8 pasting in game 3 of the ALCS so that he could save the arms of the rest of the 'pen (and in so doing gave up a start in the series), and in 2007 he took himself out of the rotation because his back was bothering him and he knew that he couldn't give it his all.
Most importantly, he was Josie's favorite current player, and she is absolutely devastated by this news. Well, maybe not completely devastated. Well, maybe not devastated at all. Maybe her exact words were "He's old and he retired. Get over it." Or maybe it was just a brave front because she was afraid to show her real feelings, lest anyone think she's really a female. I don't know. But I suspect that down deep, she's hurting today, so be nice to her if you can.