…and there’s Cadillacs all shiny and new

A photo I took of Trot in Philly in 2005. Not the best shot…but I love it!

I don’t handle news like this well:

Former Red Sox right fielder Trot Nixon was released by the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday.

Nixon, who will turn 35 on April 11, was a non-roster invitee with four hits in 38 spring at-bats.

Brewers manager Ken Macha said the decision was tough because Nixon’s career meant so much to him. Macha managed Nixon for four years in the Red Sox minor leagues.

Putting aside the fact that any Ken Macha mentions inexplicably makes me see red ever since his stints with NESN, I hate to see “one of the 25” out of a job. Hell, I hate to see ANY player I like out of a job. You know what? I hate to see a 35 year-old person suddenly be told he’s expendable and certainly not needed any more.

I have a tendency to personalize a lot of things. It’s difficult for me to look at people and not find some way to identify with them, even if those people are millionaire ball players. Because of how much I enjoy baseball and the people who play it, I usually try to put aside the differences in our paychecks. Just because you make a large amount of money playing a game for a living doesn’t mean you aren’t human and don’t have the same feelings and failings as anyone else. So reading that Trot Nixon got cut from the Brewers really bummed me out.

I wonder two things: How would I feel if I went into work today and were told that they appreciated all I had done, but didn’t need me any more because there were so many others out there who can do my job better than I could? I also wonder if the time came for me to say “I know I’m done and should hang it up now” I’d be able to recognize it.

A friend of mine told me the other day that he heard Mike Timlin being interviewed and Timlin said that he still wants to pitch but there haven’t been any offers. I think anyone who watched Timlin in 2008 has a good idea why there haven’t been any offers. I don’t mean that as an insult to Mike. He is on my short list of absolute favorite players of all-time. But he turned 43 this month and last year we saw a pitcher who really had to struggle just to be “meh”. It made me sad and I assumed it made him sad as well and I fully expected an announcement at some point during the winter that he was retiring. Like Nixon, he’s had a career to be proud of (Timlin has four World Series rings. None, proudly, have come from New York. That’s something else!) and I wonder why it is so hard to acknowledge that the time has come to step back.

Then I remember that these guys are only 35 and 43. I fall somewhere in the middle of that. If I had to “retire” today, what the hell would I do? Granted, they both have the means to “do” a lot more than I would be able to, but money or not, there’s a lot of life left…if someone told you that you couldn’t do the one thing you love any more and then gave you another 50 years to ponder that, how eager would you be to jump in there and give up?

I wouldn’t. You’d have to pry me away from my desk with a crowbar if I wasn’t ready to give it up. So while a small part of me wonders how Trot Nixon isn’t sitting home, looking over the last few years and thinking about how great it was but it’s probably time to hang it up, a larger part of me is hoping that he DOES say “screw them” and battles back to catch on with another team. My fingers are crossed for you, Trot!

Yesterday, Clay Buchholz continued tearing up Spring Training with another impressive outing (this time against the Cincinnati Reds). Here is where I wag my finger at those of you who might have given up just a little early on this kid.

Red Sox get the day off today and the next televised game won’t be until Saturday (1:05pm on NESN & MLB.tv). Opening Day is April 6th – we don’t have to hold out much longer!

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