Bill Buckner Taught Red Sox Nation How to Endure

News that Bill Buckner had passed away on May 27th after battling dementia shocked Red Sox Nation. Despite a strong career, many fans remembered Buckner for only one thing: Game Six of the 1986 World Series. Buckner lived with that memory for the rest of his life and was unfairly blamed for losing the World Series for the Sox. If the Red Sox hadn’t gone sixty-eight years without having won a championship, and had to wait another eighteen years to win one, perhaps Buckner would have been remembered more positively. If there’s one thing that Bill Buckner taught Red Sox Nation though it’s how to endure and persevere.

Buckner had quite a distinguished career. He collected over 2700 hits, was an All-Star,bill buckner taught and a batting champion. His career spanned four decades (1969-1990). In over 10,000 at-bats, Buckner only struck out 453 times. That stat in itself is absolutely astounding. It’s no wonder that his name came up in discussions about potential Hall of Famers. So why didn’t his statistics get more recognition? Simple. Mookie Wilson’s grounder that went through Buckner’s legs in Game Six of the 1986 World Series not only made him the butt of jokes for years to come, but became the symbol of the bad luck that had plagued the Red Sox since selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Even though the Red Sox were already in trouble before Wilson even came to the plate, Buckner was still the scape goat.

Despite Wilson’s Grounder, Bill Buckner Taught Fans How to Endure

In this age where one mistake can end entire careers, Buckner stood as a symbol of endurance. He’s an example of how people can recover from what many sports fans might see as a mistake from which there is absolutely no chance of recovery. He didn’t crawl into a hole and hide from the world. Buckner recognized what he did, but he faced the reality of the situation. He didn’t try to blame others. There were no made up excuses. He answered questions about the incident in countless interviews. Buckner even signed photos of the ball going through his legs as Wilson hustled towards first base. Although he was compared to players like Fred Snodgrass and Fred Merkle, Buckner didn’t let it define him. He chose NOT to be play victim.

In time, Red Sox Nation forgave him. Buckner found his redemption (if he was even looking for it. If anything, he forgave Red Sox Nation!). More importantly though, despite the bad hand he was dealt in his career, Buckner went on to prove that one’s life isn’t over in the wake of such a tragedy. There is a chance to recover and find happiness again. We do get a second chance at life; there are do-overs.

I was at Fenway Park when Buckner’s death was announced before the start of the game on Sunday. No one jeered or shouted anything about ’86. No one in my section said anything demeaning. If anything, people shouted “Yeah Buckner! We love you!” Red Sox Nation had clearly learned to move on (though winning four World Series in the last fifteen years has certainly helped heal those wounds). Clearly Bill Buckner taught us that life continues after mistakes, and that they don’t define the way one is remembered if you don’t let them.

Baseball itself is a symbol of second chances. Nine of them, in fact. And no one knew that better than Bill Buckner.

Cora Deserves Respect for White House Decision

Alex Cora finally made his decision this week about whether he would go with the team to The White House to celebrate their World Series victory. Cora is not going. Neither are many of the other players including Xander Bogaerts, David Price, and Rafael Devers. Whether you agree with him or not on this issue, Cora deserves respect for his decision. He’s the manager, and he’s setting an example about doing what one feels is right in the face of adversity.

“The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a longcora deserves respect ways to go,” Cora is quoted as saying to the Associated Press. “That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.” Cora may have been referring to The White House’s claim that $91 billion was allocated to help rebuild Puerto Rico in the wake of a devastating hurricane. That number is well below what the unincorporated U.S. territory has actually received. While Cora did not specifically mention the president, it is difficult to ignore the white elephant in the room.

Red Sox Nation hasn’t hesitated at all to chime in with their opinion about Cora’s decision, many of them negative that question his patriotism and devotion to America. Some are angry that Cora isn’t showing respect for the U.S. President, whose office has a tradition of hosting victory celebrations for teams that won their respective championships. While this is true, today’s political climate has made it very challenging for sports teams to decide whether to visit The White House as part of their celebrations. Some say that teams should go regardless of who is president because that’s tradition. Others argue though that to go would not only validate the president’s controversial actions, but is a betrayal of their own feelings.

Cora Deserves Respect for Staying True to his Homeland

Cora is Puerto Rican and therefore American by birth. However, his primary allegiance is, and always will be, to his homeland. You can’t blame him for that. The fact that he made a well-thought out and articulate decision reflects his maturity. It also reflects his professionalism. In my view, he is saying that he will not partake in a celebration when there’s still so much to be done. Frankly, not only is he entitled to that belief, but he doesn’t really have to answer to anyone for his decision other than to ownership, and God.

The controversy to not attend such events at The White House is nothing new. The focus on a zero sum scenario where one side has to be completely correct and justified, and the other side can’t have even a modicum of respect makes it challenging to have rational discussions about this topic. Cora did not personally criticize anyone though. He showed his appreciation for what the government has done, but is also stating that there’s much more to do. Furthermore, Cora is not obligated to fulfill anyone’s definition of patriotism or loyalty. While he will have to accept any consequences of his decision, it doesn’t make him any less of a man. Going to The White House wouldn’t make him a patriot anymore than standing in a garage would make him a car.

I commend Cora for standing up for himself, and more importantly, for Puerto Rico. There’s a rich history of athletes, both Democrat and Republican, who received their fair share of criticism for making similar decisions. At the end of the day, anyone who says that Cora is making a political statement is missing the point. If anything, they’re contradicting themselves by trying to make it about politics. It’s not about politics, it’s about doing what he thinks is right. With that said, Cora deserves respect for his decision not to go to The White House.

Is Benintendi the Next Yastrzemski?

Only those who saw Carl Yastrzemski play in the 1960s and 70s can really say whether anyone on the current roster can field and hit as well as the legendary Red Sox left fielder. Yaz’s status in Boston is only second to Ted Williams (and I would argue is well above David Ortiz). While Mookie Betts and Chris Sale certainly take the cake when it comes to the team’s top stars, this writer would argue that Benintendi is just starting what could become one of the greatest careers in Boston. Does that mean Benintendi is the next Yastrzemski?

Benintendi and Yastrzemski Side by Side

It’s hard NOT to compare the two. They both play in left field. Both came along shortlynext yastrzemski after the departure of legendary Red Sox hitters (Williams and Ortiz). They are both roughly the same size (5’11, 175 and 5’10, 170, respectively). They both posted solid numbers in their first full season in the majors with Benintendi hitting .271 with 20 HRs, and 90 RBIs while Yaz hit .266 with 11 HRs, and 80 RBIs. Statistically speaking, their first few years in the big leagues are not too different from one another. Does that mean Benintendi is the next Yastrzemski though? Hardly.

First of all, it wasn’t just the numbers that Yaz posted in his career that made him so legendary. He all but single-handedly carried the Red Sox to the World Series on his bat in the last two weeks of the 1967 season by hitting .491 (27/55) with five homers and 18 RBIs in the last fifteen games of the season. In his career, Yastrzemski won the 1967 Triple Crown and MVP, was an 18x All-Star, and a 7x Gold Glove Winner. Playing his entire career in Boston from 1961 to 1983 only cemented his status in Boston as one of the all-time greats. Benintendi, however, is only entering his third full season in the majors, but he’s already made strong impressions.

Benintendi’s Making Marks of His Own

Anyone who was watching Game 2 of the 2018 World Series will never forget the amazing catch Benintendi made to snuff out the Dodgers’ Brian Dozer’s hopes of getting a base hit. This catch came days after Benintendi made a game-saving robbery of a hit from the Astros’ Alex Bregman in the ALCS. Both catches factored significantly in Red Sox victories in those series. They also boosted Benintendi’s status as a strong left fielder. His abilities leave no doubt that Benintendi has the chance to be the next Yastrzemski of Boston.

So Is Benintendi the Next Yastrzemski?

It’s too early to tell right now. It’s rare for players to stay with one team for their entire careers anymore. If Benintendi stays in Boston though, it will surprise no one if twenty years from now we see his jersey number 16 retired alongside Yaz’s.

Congrats and Thank You From the Yawkey Way Report

The staff of the Yawkey Way Report would like to congratulate the Boston Red Sox for winning the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers!

The staff of the Yawkey Way Report would also like to thank Red Sox Nation for its support during the 2018 season. Without you we wouldn’t have had the success we had this season.

We look forward to seeing what good fortune 2019 brings us and seeing the great fans of Red Sox Nation back in the spring!

And again, congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series!

Rick Porcello Almost Threw a Perfect Game

Rick Porcello almost threw a perfect game against the New York Yankees on August 3rd. For some reason though no one seemed to notice. I know that “almost” doesn’t translate into “he did.” But people do not realize how rare it is to see a perfect game. Look at it this way. Baseball as we know it has been around since the 1880s. According to Sean Forman of baseball-reference.com, there have been over 210,000 major league games played over the last 140 years. Guess how many of them were perfect games? Only 23. The fact that Porcello came within striking distance of a perfect game is in itself no small feat and one that should be recognized.

A perfect game by today’s standards is when a pitcher retires all twenty-seven batters in arick porcello almost row. Nine innings multiplied by three outs an inning equals twenty-seven. It’s a feat so rare that baseball didn’t see one between 1923 and 1955. It’s something so difficult to achieve that its very name denotes the standard that a pitcher has to meet in order to join the exclusive club. In fact, baseballism.com has a deal where they’ll take 40% off all their baseball merchandise for 24 hours following a perfect game this season. THAT’S how rare it is to see a perfect game.

Rick Porcello Almost Joined An Exclusive Club

Back to Rick Porcello almost throwing a perfect game. The game itself was Porcello’s most masterful game so far in his career. The fact that he retired 21 Yankee batters in a row is in itself a rarity for anyone. The only thing you read about in the sports section the next day though was how Porcello pitched a one-hitter. It wasn’t a shutout, and it wasn’t a no-hitter. The one hit he gave up was a home run that destroyed Porcello’s chance at a perfect game. If it hadn’t been for that one home run Porcello likely would have become the 24th pitcher EVER to throw a perfect game. Just one hit…

Rick Porcello Almost Cost Jordan Furniture $100,000,000

You read that right. Jordan’s Furniture’s Eliot Tatelman told WBZ TV Boston Sports Director Steve Burton that “Rick Porcello’s one-hitter last night would have been free furniture to 45,000 families, over $100,000,000.00. One pitch made the difference.” That makes you wonder if the CEO of baseballism.com was just as nervous.

Gimmicks aside, most pitchers will tell you that they value a win over personal gain. I think that’s true in Porcello’s case. It was another victory that further secured the Red Sox’s first-place standing. Given how well the Red Sox are playing this season though, Rich Porcello’s almost perfect game won’t be the team’s last chance at achieving greatness this season.

Red Sox Chasing History This Season

Witnessing the Red Sox chasing history this season has become my new favorite thing. They are fifty games above .500 for the first time since 1946. That was the year the Red Sox lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. There’s something particularly special about this year’s team though. It’s not just Mookie Betts’ .350 batting average, or J.D. Martinez’s 37 home runs as of August 13th. It’s not even the fact that they are the only team with 80+ wins so far this season. Everyone in Red Sox Nation is talking about how amazing this year’s team is.

Although everyone knew this season would be great with the acquisition of J.D. Martinez, Ired sox chasing think it began to dawn on people that the 2018 Red Sox could become one of the best teams in franchise history when they swept the Yankees. It wasn’t just that they won all four games in the series at the beginning of August. It was what happened during the series that made people’s heads turn and jaws drop.

The first game Thursday night saw the Red Sox overcome a four-run deficit to win 15-7 on the back of Steve Pearce’s three home runs. The second game saw Rick Porcello retire the last twenty-one batters he faced for a one-hitter that could have been a perfect game if he hadn’t surrendered a home run to Miguel Andujar in the third. The third game saw Nathan Eovaldi take a shutout into the eighth inning. The fourth game, which the Yankees almost won, was the final nail in their coffin. Andrew Benintendi’s walk-off blooper through the Yankees’ defense shut down the Bronx Bombers for good.

Red Sox Chasing Destiny and History

The Red Sox are doing so well this season that I’m already thinking about how I’m going to afford World Series tickets. I foresee many weekday mornings where people will arrive at work with bags under their eyes. I foresee players on this year’s Red Sox roster taking home a Cy Young, MVP, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger Award. Finally, I see myself skipping work to watch the Red Sox World Series parade down Boylston Street.