Wed Jul 15 02:22am EDT
After battling through a 17-year career and then finally making his first All-Star Game this season, the very skills of endurance that Wakefield used for the achievement prevented him from throwing even one pitch. The 42-year-old Boston righty remained in the American League bullpen for the entire night and thus leaves St. Louis with the same amount of All-Star experience that he had before.
Here's guessing that Wake doesn't have another 17 years so he can actually appear in one.
Not that he didn't know what was coming. After arriving in town, he was told by AL manager Joe Maddon that his knuckleball-style and ability to eat up a few innings without significant risk for arm damage would prove valuable if the game went into extra innings. When the AL bullpen slammed the door on the NL in regulation, Wakefield's activity-less fate was sealed.
Still, even those who felt that Wakefield's 4.31 ERA wasn't deserving of a roster spot had to be rooting for Wakefield to get some game action in St. Louis. Though I've said that Maddon couldn't let sentimentality rule his decisions, I still think he erred in not throwing Wakefield earlier in the game (though this guy is angrier over the whole snub). Chalk it up to the effects of the 2002 tie and the 15-inning game just last season, I suppose.
Late in the game, there were some wishful rumblings on Twitter that Wakefield might serve as closer, but it just wouldn't have worked. As great as it would have been to see him knuckling his way to a save, you just don't pass up the chance to call Mariano Rivera(notes) to come in from the pen and do his thing.
But hey, at least Wakefield made the team and at least President Obama told him before the game that he'd like a knuckleball lesson some day.
(That $50K bonus for making the squad ain't bad, either.)