Terrible Towels: What could have been

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Terrible Towels: What could have been

By Adam Hart
CSNNE.com

Towels, and terrible ones at that.

The Jets are playing lousy amid the frantic waving of those frightening pieces of yellow cloth. All the while a lone WGS writer sits in his CSNNE.com Web Zone chair, mentally constructing a post that would crush the towels' self-esteem. It is a post that must wait another year, gestating without certainty it will ever enjoy a life on the internet.

"Oh, what could have been," he thinks of tweeting without adding context. He doesn't, for fear those 296 followers will think him one who enjoys being unspecifically over-dramatic.

A week earlier he watched from that same rolling office chair as the play of the Patriots shared an adjective with those damned towels -- terrible.

Had it been different -- had Bill Belichick's team beaten the Jets -- those towels would be drowned in the red, white and blue waters of Gillette Stadium. "Not so terrible now, are you?" a drunk or legally-blind Pats fan might've asked, talking trash not to Steelers fans but to those yellow rags.

Had it been different, Mark Sanchez might've been too sad to wipe snots on Mark Brunell's jacket.

Had it been different, Rashard Mendenhall would've found something wrong with a little bump 'n grind.

Had it been different, this blog would not be a reflective blog, but one mocking the magical intimidation powers of those Heinz mustard-colored rags. Oh yes, the towels would be mocked, most certainly with the use of a South Park clip. This South Park clip.

But it wasn't different, not by a long shot; it was what it was. And so the towels are out of WGS' jurisdiction for another year -- maybe more . . . or are they?

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.