Baseball, After 20 Years in Boston

Wakefield PitchesI came to the USA in 1989, expecting to stay for 3 years and then return to Europe. For the next three years, I lived in Cambridge, and came to like baseball, and especially the Boston Red Sox.

The first game I went to at Fenway was a pitching duel between Clemens, then of the Sox, and Saberhagen, then of the KC Royals. It was on April 18, 1991. I know because I just found the box score. The names (e.g., Boggs, Burks, Greenwell, Reardon) show how long ago that was.

Another indicator of how long ago that was: Tim Wakefield wasn’t with the Sox. I saw the most recent of his many Sox starts on Friday. It was a lot of fun, even though the Sox lost. They did so in extra innings, so it’s just as well the game was briskly played. Wakefield works quickly, even though his pitches don’t move quickly. His fastball is 70-something mph. That’s quite a contrast, though, with his trademark 60-something knuckleball. It’s also a contrast with every other pitcher we saw. The Sox relievers, and the Mariners pitchers, threw hard, with changeups going over 90.

It wasn’t Wake’s best start, and can’t have improved his chances of making the All-Star roster. But make it he did: Tim Wakefield is an American League All-Star. He’s the pitcher in the picture. I think that the hitter is Griffey.