The Tragedy of Tim Wakefield

Five years ago, on October 17, 2003, Tim Wakefield gave up an 11th-inning home run to Aaron Boone, a career .264 hitter best known for being someone’s brother.

If there is one memorable moment, one play that Boston fans most associate with Tim Wakefield, that is it.  And I don’t think there are any hard feelings (Grady Little got most of those and rightfully so), but the fact remains that Tim Wakefield, for all he has contributed to the Red Sox in his thirteen-plus years of service, simply does not receive the credit that I figure he somehow has to deserve by this point.

If I watched more television sitcoms, I could probably draw an apt analogy here.  Feel free to comment with suggestions.

But to say that the tragedy of Tim Wakeifled is simply a lack of attention or fan loyalty is wrong.  To understand what is so deeply disturbing about Wakefield’s predicament, we have to look at his identity as a professional pitcher.

To Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy, the screaming afternoon guys on WEEI, and the rest of the local media, Wakefield’s simply the guy who pitches between the shaky number 5 guy in the rotation, and the young rising arm that has been slotted number 3.  There’s never much to say about Wakefield.  The most you’ll hear is that the knuckleball is unpredictable.  A Wakefield start rests on the fate of the knuckleball.

The national media treats a Wakefield outing a bit like a trip to the circus.  This is the knuckleballer we’ve been telling you about! Watch him barely wind up!  He could throw forever if he had to!  Look at him go!  Hands away from the cage!  Hands away from the cage!

Wakefield the pitcher is eclipsed by the pitch of his own labor.  His knuckleball will forever overshadow his consistent career statistics, his generally good demeanor, his selfless willingness to take the mound whenever called upon.  His cumulative contributions to the Red Sox since 1995 could stack up against any other player in the last two decades.  Amongst the team’s all-time leaders, he is 3rd in wins, 2nd in games played, 3rd in innings pitched, and 2nd in strikeouts.

But he’s known first and foremost for a pitch he throws.

The ball, once it leaves his fingernails, does not spin.  A good knuckleball moves independent of its host’s release.  Wakefield cannot control it.  It is, by design, chaotic and erratic.  The better Wakefield throws the ball, the less spin it has, the less control he has over it.

The plight of Tim Wakefield is that no matter how well he pitches, the results are more independent of his actions than those of any other player in baseball.

In tonight’s game, Wakefield went 2.2 innings.  He may have completely mis-delivered all game, or the game time temperature could have been a few degrees cooler than needed for an effective knuckleball.  He could have pitched the worst game of his career, or pitched exactly as he did on the 28th of September when he gave up 0 runs against the Yankees.  Walking off the mound, staring at the ground, it was difficult to tell what happened to Wakefield tonight.  I couldn’t bring myself to completely blame him for the abysmal innings, and I don’t know if Wakefield himself could take full accountability for it either.

If this accountability conundrum plagues Wakefield when he’s losing, what can we say of when he’s winning?  It is as if Wakefield is not as good or as bad as the pitch he throws.  There is Tim Wakefield, and then there is the knuckleball.

Who is Tim Wakefield and what does he deserve?

This is the tragedy of Tim Wakefield.

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The Lloyd Family Players. Photo courtesy of bos_lauren.

The Lloyd Family Players. Photo courtesy of bos_lauren.

This weekend in Davis Square…I know, I’m biased…was the 3rd Annual Honk! Festival. Basically a ton of bands from all over the country turned the Square into a horn and percussion music festival. They are protest, grassroots, political bands who make people shake and stomp and clap as a form of protest, thus hopefully serving as a catalyst for change.

I happened upon this festival last year. I had been living in Somerville for all of two months and when I saw this transformation of Davis Square, I knew I had picked the perfect neighborhood to live. This year, I’m living even closer and so I had to stop by. This time I brought friends and now even more people are hooked. We walked up and down the street, letting the music draw us in. We danced with strangers and did some people watching for the ages. There are some serious characters that come out for this. Next year, I promise to give you a heads up, but reserve Columbus Day weekend 2009 now.

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Yeah, what he said.

I would like to second Michael’s post about making sure you are registered to vote. All your passion, support, and time spent following the candidates and their positions will be for naught if you can’t even cast your ballot. This is even more pressing because I just read on the website of another city’s newspaper (we won’t name it here) that many states may be engaging in inadvertent illegal purging of voter rolls as they try to comply with a 2002 federal law: the Help America Vote Act. So make sure your house is in order and register!

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Beware the Ides of October: Registering to Vote in Massachusetts

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be writing a bit about the November 4th election as it relates to Bostonians.  I’ll cover a new ballot question each week and provide some mind-numbing state resources.  If you open your textbook, we’ll begin on page 292 with Massachusetts voter registration.

Those of you who will be 18 or older on election day and would like to vote, need to be registered.  As of this posting, you have 7 days to mail in your voter registration form; this mail-in voter registration form must be postmarked by October 15, 2008 — 20 days prior to the election, by law.

If you want to register to vote without leaving your couch, you need to complete an online form to actually get your voter registration form.  It’s kind of like a meta form, I guess.  It’s available here:  You can also show your age and request a voter registration form by phone (617-727-2828 or 1-800-462-VOTE).

Chapter Summary: Registering to Vote in MA

  1. Request a voter registration form (Now)
  2. Complete the voter registration form
  3. Mail or drop-off your voter registration form to your local city/town hall; addresses are listed here. (By Wednesday, October 15)

If you have any questions about this, for the love of God, don’t ask me.  We have a Secretary of the Commonwealth who gets paid to wade through this stuff.  His name is William Francis Galvin and he’s got quite the website:

Hello, Boston.

Technically, I joined the Boston Metblogs team twenty-five days ago.

For the last twenty-five days, I’ve not slept a wink. Instead, anxiously sweating my nights away, draft after draft of “Boston Metblogs First Post” littering my floor, I’ve fallen prey to one of the most crippling bouts of writer’s block in my life.

And I’ve tried everything. I sank myself into a deep, Fitzgerald-esque inebriation, hoping to loosen my tongue and facilitate the words. I attempted to invoke Poe with a hazy night of opiate indulgences and merely ended up ordering a cheese pizza. Stream-of-conscious notes failed me, only dredging up the most painful memories from the abyss of my psyche.

Writing in a turtleneck didn’t work.  The French beret I bought was too big, but it probably wouldn’t have worked either.  Writing in the nude certainly did not work.  Taking up smoking could not alleviate my struggle, and now I’m developing a cough.

At times, it felt as though I were a forgotten cosmonaut left over from 1975, endlessly floating through the eternal midnight of space, praying to the Holy Ghost for a black hole to put the young fool to rest. Desperation had set in. Two nights ago, I almost posted the entire first book of The Odyssey as my own work. The next morning, I hit rock bottom when I came to the absurd conclusion that jogging would remedy my ailment.

I’m going to be fired, I thought to myself. They’re going to call from Los Angeles and not even be formal about it: “You’re gone. We brought you on board twenty-five days ago and you promised us three posts a week. You haven’t published a word. Pack your goddamn bags, kid, and get outta here. We think you’re a qualitatively bad person.”

Have you ever been fired from an unpaid writing position on a blog network?  It can only be the most terribly degrading of experiences.

Hopefully, it won’t get to that point.

My name is Michael. I’m a Massachusetts born-and-raised, twenty-something-year-old. I’m just wrapping up the move to beautiful Somerville, Mass., where I look forward to bringing you the word on all things Boston.

If you’re interested in subscribing to my posts via RSS, the feed is:

Thanks for reading.

What’s up with all the Boston sports injuries?

Is it the weather? Are the athletes changing their diets? Their rituals? First Tom Brady is out for the season, now Josh Beckett has been moved from starting the playoff series against the Angels to starting Game 3. Some of our star players are dropping like flies at very pivotal times. We cannot take victory for granted in this region. I’m not that old, but I very clearly remember when none of our professional teams couldn’t win to save their lives. Let’s not get lazy, folks. Stay healthy people!

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"Mad Men" Nights at Noir

I have been an avid fan of “Mad Men” for a while. I really fell in love over the summer when I was house sitting in Brookline at a place that had On Demand. I watched the entire first season in two days. It’s smart, methodical, and unapologetic. I didn’t think I could love it more until I experienced it the way I did last Sunday night. My friend came in from NYC for the weekend, so she and I headed to Noir, the lounge at the Charles Hotel to attend “Mad Men Sundays. The cherries on top were the fabulous vintage dresses we picked up at Poor Little Rich Girl in Davis Square.

The lounge itself is very retro: very dark and with deep red accents. They serve lots of drinks in martini glasses. However, they do have a very modern HD projector and cable. At 10pm, the projector screen came down and everyone there turned their attention to the show. I have never enjoyed an episode more: in a vintage 60s dress sipping a gimlet sitting the bar.

So if you love “Mad Men” or have never seen it, experience it at this bar. I have to work tomorrow, so I’ll have to miss it, but you should definitely check it out and let me know what you think.


Hey everyone! I just wanted to introduce myself as one of the new writers of Boston Metblog. I’m Lauren. I’m from Jamaica Plain, but I returned to the area after nine years of working in Washington, DC and New York City to be a graduate student at Harvard. I’m studying Higher Education, but I have a deep history in the theatre, so I’m looking forward to sharing with you my adventures in the arts in Boston and hearing your thoughts.

Talk to you soon!

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Come Blog With Us

moar.gifWriting for Metblogs has the potential to be the most rewarding experience in your entire life. It’ll make you rich, famous, good looking, will help you lose weight, make your clothes fit better, and get you a super good deal on a new car. It will make you the most well known person on the entire planet. Yes, each and every one of you. Really.

OK maybe not. Actually those are all lies, but it’s fun at least. The truth is Metblogs is the largest network of locally focused blogs on the web, covering almost 60 cities around the world and we’re looking to add a few new bloggers/writters/authors to this fine site. If you wanna know more about us check out this wikipedia entry but it’s kinda boring so I won’t waste time repeating it all here again. If you wanna write for us, here’s the scoop:

  • All author positions are volunteer. That means you don’t get paid.
  • You must live in (or very near) the city you plan to write about.
  • Anything you post must relate to the city somehow. That means you shouldn’t post a movie review, but talking about going to see a movie at a local theater is fine.
  • There’s no requirement for how much you can or should write, but we ask that if we set you up as an author you make about 3 posts a week.
  • You can post about things you love, you can post about things you hate. It’s entirely up to you

Additionally, because of our global network, there’s plenty of options for things you write to be read by people all over the world. Interested? Want more details? Post a comment and we’ll be in touch!

Introducing The Hub


If Metblogs is a city, hub.metblogs is the playground. We kept hearing from people that one of their favorite parts of Metblogs was meeting and interacting with readers and writers from other parts of the world, as well as getting requests for more ways that readers could be involved besides just posting comments. We thought about this for a while and decided that with a network like this, a giant community area where folks from all over the world could hang out, post photos and videos, talk with each other, form groups, play games, send messages, and do about a million other things was probably a pretty fun idea. The Hub is that.

If you have any tech ideas or suggestions join this group and speak up. See you on hub.metblogs!

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From NPR: “Parker Explores the Shadows of Boston’s Back Bay”

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And so:

Kennedy returns.


The New York Times has more.

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Pepperell Says No; Interview With Sharon Mercurio

Pepperell had their override vote, and they voted, ‘No,’ 326/700.

Sharon Mercurio, the Council on Aging Senior Directer, answered a few questions:

BM: First things first: as the Director of the CoA, what do your responsibilities entail?

SM: As the COA Director I am responsible for running the Senior Center (budget, building, staffing, programs, Meals on Wheels) and any Elder Service issues. I enjoy the position. No two days are ever alike and the people I get to meet are incredible.

BM: So — Pepperell voted no. What’s your reaction? What do you think were the determining factors in the vote?

Also, you’re quoted in the Globe saying that seniors are terrified, and that since their SS payments weren’t going up, “A lot of them are fearful of losing their homes.” What have you been hearing from seniors since the vote? How would a “Yes” have affected them? How does the “No” affect them?

SM: I really wasn’t sure which way the vote would go. I don’t know how many people actually got to the polls to vote. I think a lot of folks didn’t really understand what it was all about and some actually thought that it was a done deal when it was voted on at Town Meeting to have an Override. The seniors seem relieved that the vote didn’t pass. We’re not quite sure what will exactly happen to our budgets since the override didn’t pass. I do know some of the seniors are planning to attend school committee meetings this year and try to become more involved with what is going on with their budget.

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Greater Boston Legal Services

They need your help.

(Via UHub.)

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Green Line C Branch To Be Closed Temporarily

On something of a whim I decided to check out the MBTA’s service alerts and advisories page. When I got there and saw advisories for the green line, I couldn’t help taking a look. I’m glad I did, because I take the C every day. So, my fellow T riders, be prepared. Friday June 27, 20088 starting at 10pm the C trains will stop. They say a shuttle bus will run the whole line in both directions. It looks like it will stop at St. Mary’s, so there will probably be trains to pick us up and drop us off there. This would be a smart move on the MBTA’s part; packing Kenmore would not be a good idea. To give the MBTA even more credit (I can’t believe I just said that), next week all Sox games are away so traffic should be light.

The reason for this service outage is work in Coolidge Corner. Hopefully the workers are fast!

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