[Cartoon from Boston Dirt Dogs - I'm unsure of the date.]
Tim Wakefield was yet again denied his 200th win - despite leaving the game with a comfortable 8-5 lead. Once again, the bullpen just couldn't do it for the iron man knuckler.
Unsurprisingly, in public Wakefield downplayed the personal importance of a 200th career win with the Red Sox, instead emphasizing the team angle, that the important thing now is for the RED SOX to win games, and get to the postseason: “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t change what I’ve done. I’d like it to happen. But more importantly, I think, is for us to get into the postseason. … That’s our ultimate goal.”
He's correct, of course, that not reaching 200 wins wouldn't change what he's done for the Sox in his nineteen-year career (seventeen years in Boston). The fans (including yours truly) will still love and respect him, and I think we can all agree that we'd rather see a Pennant and a World Series win than Wakey's 200th W.
That said, I would REALLY like to see Tim Wakefield reach this milestone. Over the course of his career he's been a team player (with a few notable, passive-aggressive exceptions in the last couple of years), and a perennial contributor to charity endeavors of all kinds. The cool thing about a team like the Red Sox is that not only are the fans all pulling for Wake, the players are, too. Judging by Daniel Bard's reaction to blowing the lead last night, I think we can safely say that he might have been more upset that Wakey was.
Personally, I'm not giving up hope, yet. The season has a few more weeks to go - and even if Tim Wakefield gets moved to the bullpen for the duration of the postseason (not unlikely), he has a good sporting chance of reaching his milestone.