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November 16, 2010



It must be incredibly hard to let go of a career as an athlete. It's the only thing I can think of that explains why players forgo the chance to exit with dignity and legacy intact and instead hang on in a way that looks sad and pathetic. What did Trot gain by those post-Sox years in Cleveland? What will Tek gain?

You are right - they should have left as ours, the way Jeter and Rivera will retire as Yankees.


I can only imagine that the same qualities that make them top athletes are the ones that don't allow them to make graceful exits. If they 'knew when it was time to quit' they wouldn't be where they were.

I do feel myself sounding like a hand-wringing fogey pining for the way the game 'used to be' -- but it's not EVERYTHING. It's just that one aspect, of a career-long association between a player and a place, that I wish we had more of. Maybe we can hope for it for Wake -- he seems to be the only player the Sox are willing to hang on to indefinitely.

I also don't mean to overlook Mike Lowell's lovely retirement ceremony this year in writing about all this, and I *was* touched by the fact that in his 2007 contract and in that retirement ceremony, Lowell essentially publicly called Boston his baseball home. But Mike was with the team four years, was drafted a Yankee, made his bones as a Marlin. Varitek has been here for 13 -- closer to Yaz-type longevity. He was acquired from the Mariners, but was a minor-league prospect at that time. He was called up to the Sox and then became their captain. The idea of him playing for the Phillies or whoever just seems crappy and pointless.

But I'm not the one with three kids, God knows what else going on, and alimony, and it could be the continuing big-league paycheck that's needed, too. We don't know.

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