Something happened today that, honestly, I didn’t think I would ever see. Bill Buckner returned to Fenway Park to toss out the ceremonial first pitch.
Not only did he return, but he was greeted with a standing ovation. I guess winning two World Series rings in four years is enough to soften even the harshest of fans.
As for Buckner, he looked emotional and not at all comfortable to be there. I’m guessing that he was aware of the prevailing sentiment in the stadium – pity. (No, I’m not about to bring back Mr. T.)
They weren’t cheering because they respected him as a player; they were cheering because they felt bad for him, or more accurately, bad for how they had treated him in the past. For those who don’t know - When Bill retired, he moved his family to Idaho, and I guarantee you, it’s not because he loved potatoes.
He left because that one ill-timed error had erased his 22-year career, and probably overshadowed his entire life. It was a good career, too. As a player, Buckner racked up 2,700 hits, 500 doubles, 1,200 RBI and a .289 batting average. He played many different positions, and averaged less than 7 errors per year. Nowadays, Buckner’s numbers aren’t so different from those amassed by some players in the Hall of Fame.
In any case, the Red Sox finally made the right move today, and hopefully the Cubs will take notice. Steve Bartman bobble-head night, anyone?
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