Most of us mature and grow as people when we go to college, or at least reach our early twentys. Most of us have the luxury of doing so in relative anonymity. Sure, our families and our friends are aware of our successes and of course, our failures. Pro ballplayers, especially in Red Sox Nation, are not afforded that privacy. It is all part of the package. Pitch a no-hitter and you’re coronated, even deified. Go 6-9 the next season and the whispers begin. As you’ve probably surmised, I’m talking about Clay Buchholz. Buch labored through the 2008 season, eventually winding up back at AA Portland. Unbowed, the righthander vowed to return, better than ever. During baseball’s winter meetings, Rangers President and Texas icon Nolan Ryan spoke openly about how coveted a commodity Buchholz is. A native of the Lone Star State himself, Buchholz was the subject of many trade rumors over the offseason. Happily, Theo Epstein has held firm. Clay has four pitches that are considered “plus”, meaning they project well at the highest level. Between winter workouts, Buchholz met with Red Sox psychology coach, Bob Tewksbury. Buch admitted in an interview, that those meetings were extremely helpful. My money is on the likable righty to fulfill the promise he has shown. Another topic we spoke about was the incessant “need” of Red Sox fans to know everything about their heroes. According to a recent arrticle in the Boston Herald, Clay is engaged to Lindsay Clubine, a beautiful young model and aspiring actress. Lindsay might be best known as the girl who holds suitcase #26 on the popular TV show “Deal Or No Deal”. After meeting her, I can honestly tell you that she seems as sweet as can be. Two young people, obviously enamored with each other but fodder for the tabloids and blogs (like this one). I asked him if he was surprised by his incredible lack of privacy. Paraphrasing, Buch said that he has grown in other ways, off the mound. He added that if he goes out for a drink with a friend or teammate, he isn’t shocked anymore by false reports that may say he was drunk or unruly. It is all part of growing up. Some guys seem to never learn, Clay Buchholz isn’t one them. Enjoy him while you can see him at McCoy Stadium for $6.00 because he isn’t going to be here long.
Speaking of today’s internet age and the tabloid mentality, I just don’t understand the thought process of some fans. Kevin Youkilis got married during the offseason to Enza Sambataro. One would think that the loyal residents of the “Nation” would be happy for “Youk”. I was disgusted to read the comments of some people. I alluded to it in my last blog. These are, for the most part, great kids who happened to blessed with an amazing skill. What they do off the field is their own business. I think we spend far too much time concerned with the life and times of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Reality TV has become the norm and I’m not sure it’s all for the best.
Congratulations ot the great fans who jammed into McCoy on opening night. Nearly 12,000 of the best fans in baseball showed up. My favorite thing about the McCoy faithful is when the scoreboard shows the Boston Red Sox score. Of course, if they’re winning, the place goes wild. But that noise pales in comparison to the ovation that comes when they show the Yankees score and the they’re losing. I love PawSox fans. My kind of people.