January 4, 2004
The Boston Globe, page F1
Tim Wakefield explains it all. His words should put an end to all conversation about Game 7 against the Yankees re: Little's responsibility to make a decision:
"Do I understand why he didn't take him out? Yes. I mean, that's your No. 1 guy out there. As an athlete, I'm not going to tell him I'm tired. I want to compete. But sometimes, management has to make a decision for us."
From a respected athlete and person like Wakefield, this, to me, is the final answer to that event -- why it happened and why it shouldn't have.
And this, also from Wakefield, on the importance of chemistry -- something only the most cynical fans refuse to acknowledge as a critical element in a team's success: "I've always said you can't buy chemistry. It takes a special person to understand that. When you're adding and subtracting people, you've got to take a hard look at that. The organization -- Theo [Epstein, the general manager] and whoever else was involved, did a very good job of getting the right people.
"Our chemistry was unbelievable. I've never been a part of a team that was a team. When I first got here the saying about the Red Sox was 25 players, 25 cabs. That's gone out the window. We all hang out together."
Also, Wakefield credits Little's sitting Manny down after the Philadelphia game and Kevin Millar's comments about the team going ahead and winning the whole thing without Manny as the turning point in the season.
Screw the cynics and the complainers and The Fellowship of the Miserable. They won't buy Wakefield's remarks, but he speaks for me and, it seems, he speaks for the Red Sox players of 2003 as well. Let's hope he speaks for next year's team as well.