Some GOOD cheer on Christmas Eve

This piece was printed yesterday…but I thought it fitting to write about it on Christmas Eve.  I’m sure I’ll  have many more opportunities to slam Johnny Damon, but right now I wanted people to know about a real man.  A good-hearted person who not only goes out of his way to do good for others, but who, when he had an opportunity to test the market and maybe make some big -time money and dictate a contract, decided to stay loyal to his team and his fans and stayed put.  I give you Tim Wakefield.  Timhscm (Incidentally, this picture is one I took of him back in July 2005 at the Hot Stove Cool Music Concert at Fenway Park – where he showed up to auction off some of his stuff for charity).

The Globe piece:  Others who have worn the Red Sox uniform over the last couple of years might have been in New York talking to doctors, hair stylists, and people in pinstripes, but stalwart Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield used yesterday afternoon to visit two local hospitals for children. First, Wakefield and his wife, Stacy, made a surprise visit to the Franciscan Hospital for Children, where they brought an oversize red stocking full of Red Sox hats, autographed photos, $100 gift cards from Toys ”R" Us, and a check for $15,100. Later, the Wakefields gave a check for the same amount to the Jimmy Fund Clinic. And that number’s not a coincidence. Last April, the knuckleballer pledged that he would make a donation to both medical facilities, which specialize in treating children, for every strikeout of the 2005 season. (Wakefield struck out 151 batters.) At the Jimmy Fund Clinic, the Wakefields brought hats for the kids fighting cancer, gift certificates to Toys ”R" Us, and lots of cheer. At one point, Wakefield got on a cellphone to chat with a young patient’s sister. ”Yes, this is me," Wakefield assured the disbelieving person on the other end of the line.

And about his contract, also from the Globe: 

"Wake deserves all the credit in the world for having priorities and acting in line with those priorities," said general manager Theo Epstein. "He could have pushed this to free agency and gotten other teams involved and maxed out dollars."

But Wakefield, who turns 39 Aug. 2 and is making $4.67 million this season, didn’t do that. By signing for a base of $4 million, he took less than he probably could have gotten from another team after this season.

Wakefield’s agent, Barry Meister, told the knuckleballer during this past offseason that, given age and productivity, he might command $6 million from some club at the end of the season.

"He said, `Is that club the Red Sox?’ " Meister said. "I said, `No, might not be.’ He said, `If you said the Red Sox, that’s one thing.’

"He waved me off and said, `Money is important, but it’s kind of down the list for me. My desire is to be in Boston and be a Red Sox. That’s just who I am now.’ "

Tim and Stacy are special people and they deserve a lot more publicity than the likes of Johnny and Michelle.  Whenever a Red Sox fan hears, "…but Johnny was the face of the Red Sox", they should respond with, "but Tim Wakefield is the heart".  That’s a lot more important.  We might miss Johnny’s bat, but we’re a better team just because someone like Tim Wakefield plays for us.

Thanks so much to the Wakefields for remembering what it’s all about. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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