Former teammates react to Wakefield's retirement


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.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.