Pitchers and catchers report today! Numfar, do the Dance of Joy!
I figured, it being the official day of pitching and catching, that a discussion piece inspired by the two guys I've been watching pitch and catch for my entire adult life would be appropriate. Friday saw the retirement from Major League Baseball of longtime Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield in a tearful press conference at JetBlue Park. Mere moments after he had stepped away from the mic, speculation and rumors began to swirl that similarly long-tenured Boston catcher Jason Varitek was considering following Wake into retirement. Whether Tek retires or not, it seems likely that his time in a Boston uniform is at an end.
Neither Wakefield (17 years) nor Varitek (14 years) holds the record for longest tenure at Fenway; that title belongs to Carl Yastrzemski, who wore the B on his cap for 23 years. Yaz, of course, entered the league in a different era, before free agency, before eight-figure contracts. But I don't want to talk about the different eras, save to highlight how rare the long stays in Boston by Wake and Tek were. I'd actually like to consider the future.With Boston closing the book on the knuckler and the captain, David Ortiz is now the senior member of the Boston Red Sox. 2012 will be his tenth season with the franchise. Kevin Youkilis is close behind, heading into his ninth year. After that, it's Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia, and Jon Lester heading into their seventh seasons. Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Jacoby Ellsbury all debuted on the 2007 World Series team. After them, the longest-tenured Sock is Daniel Bard. No, really.
So, dear readers, a question: looking at the 2012 roster, see any lifers? Who among the current Red Sox can you imagine giving his retirement speech as a 40- or late-30-something, still wearing a Boston cap? Is staying with one team for an entire career (or the bulk of one) even something to aspire to, or admire? For that matter, is it good baseball? I'll put up a poll with the guys I think most likely to wind up even close to Wake's or Tek's runs with the team, and then it's all yours.
Whose jersey do you still want to be wearing to Fenway in ten years?