Former teammates react to Wakefield's retirement

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Former teammates react to Wakefield's retirement

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As Tim Wakefield announced his retirement Friday evening at Jet Blue Park after 19 seasons, including the last 17 with the Red Sox, 12 of his former teammates looked on.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Scott Atchison, Rich Hill, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Kevin Youkilis, and Adrian Gonzalez, were joined by Derek Lowe, representing the 2004 team, Lowes last season in Boston, when the Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years.

He led by example, Lowe said. He was a guy you could look up to, a guy you could talk to.

I think the story was he was just throwing knuckleballs in the outfield and someone said, Hey, were going to release you as an infielder. Why dont you try pitching? Its a special story because a guy thats out of the game. If this situation ever happens to me, I think its something that I would do myself. Instead of going to camp and maybe not being assured of a spot, going out on top.

I was happy to see that he did it the way he wanted to, said Jon Lester. I dont think you can ask for anything more than that.

Lesters locker has been next to Wakefields since Lester broke into the big leagues in 2006.

To be honest with you he was tough, Lester said of his first impressions of Wakefield. Hes probably one of the tougher veterans that we had when I first came up and thats not a bad thing. I think he did a good job of being a tough leader and making sure that he was vocally present. My locker is right next to him from day one. He made sure I stayed in line and did the right things both on and off the field. So Im grateful for that. Im grateful for the fact that I got to be a teammate of his and see him do a lot of great things for this organization both on and off the field. I think off the field is more imp. His charitable work is unbelievable.

Doug Mirabelli, not in attendance, was Wakefields personal catcher during his seven seasons with the Sox. He was rushed back to Boston on May 1, 2006, with a State Police escort from Logan Airport after a trade with the Padres to catch for Wakefield against the Yankees that night, arriving at Fenway Park minutes before game time.

Wakey has been a wonderful teammate and friend, and a great representative of his family and the Red Sox, Mirabelli said in a written statement. When you think about the Red Sox you cant help but think of Wakey. What a tremendous success. Hell now have a chance to look back and see what hes accomplished from his days at Florida Tech to pitching 19 years in the major leagues.

Jason Varitek is facing his own potential retirement after 15 seasons.

There is so much to say about Wake, Varitek said in a statement. He has been a part of so many things and hes meant so much to the game, the organization, the community, and personally as a friend and teammate for 14 years. He is a consummate professional with a one-of-a-kind talent that allowed this team flexibility, dependability, and endurance for 17 years. His competitiveness will be missed but his legacy and friendship will last a lifetime. Its sad to see it end but this will be an exciting new chapter for him in his life.

Wakefield will be remembered for a gut-wrenching moment in Red Sox history giving up a home run to Aaron Boone in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS -- but what is often forgotten is that he went 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in that series. Wakefield will also be long remembered for helping the Sox to their two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.

I think Wakes career can be embodied by Game 3 against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, said former manager Terry Francona in a statement. With the team down, he came to me in the fourth inning and asked what he could do. He pitched more than three innings that game, sacrificing his start the next day for the good of the team. A lot of what he did went under the radar. I wish him congratulations on a wonderful career and hope his second career is as good as his first.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.