BOSTON -- It was Tim Wakefield Day at Fenway Park on Tuesday, and the recently-retired knuckleballer was honored before the Red Sox game against the Seattle Mariners.
Those notables in attendance were a few of Wakefield's former teammates in Mike Stanley, Mike Timlin, and Doug Mirabelli.
That and a special appearance from the Wakefield Warriors program made for an emotional ceremony.
"I didn't know what to expect," said Wakefield afterwards. "I was very nervous. Even driving into the park today, I was like, I wasn't even this nervous when I knew I was pitching that day driving into the park. Because I didn't know what to expect. I knew there was going to be some surprises. The anxiety that goes with the unknown, is pretty awesome. It was a very emotional day for me to be able to share it with the fans, who have been supportive of me over the past 17 years."
Wakefield threw out the first pitch to his former personal catcher, Mirabelli. It was an appearance that Wakefield didn't expect. And he was even more surprised when Mirabelli entered Fenway in a Boston Police cruiser from centerfield, mocking the way Mirabelli's police escort brought him to Fenway in 2006.
"I thought it was priceless, I really did," said Wakefield. "It was perfect, a perfect ending to a great ceremony."
Afterwards, Wakefield talked about the difficulties of retiring, mostly because there's a part of him that thinks he could still play.
"It's been difficult, because the fire to compete is still there, obviously," said Wakefield. "Nothing's ever going to replace that. But it's been fun to be home and to be a Dad and be a husband.
"I do miss it, and watching them play, it's kind of hard to watch sometimes," he added. "But I'm rooting for them hard.
"I think it's harder to give it up, knowing that you can still compete," said Wakefield. "Versus, being forced to give it up because of an injury, I guess. I've battled injuries at my age for the last couple years, so it's a little bit of both, I guess."
Before Tuesday's game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine reminisced about what he saw from Wakefield's career from afar.
"He was a great go-to guy," said Valentine. "A couple hundred wins. I mean, there's no diminishing the value of being out there when your team wins 200 times. It's extremely impressive."