The one who got away. Why can't we get players like that?
There are all sorts of sayings sports fans use to rue the departure of a beloved athlete -- and before Red Sox fans used those in reference to Mookie Betts, there was Jon Lester. Between his ability on the field and class off the diamond, the lefty was a fan favorite in Boston before getting traded to Oakland in 2014 (after the Sox botched contract talks, as John Henry later admitted).
Lester -- who signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs in the 2014 offseason -- is entering free agency once again, but not before thanking Cubs fans in a very cool way.
Over the weekend, Lester offered to pay for Miller Lites at four different Chicago sports bars -- and fans took advantage in a major way. The final tab? He bought almost 5,000 beers for a grand total of $47,094.90, including $16,012.27 in tips.
Thanks for coming out this weekend y’all! Yesterday we added 1,372 @MillerLites to my tab, bringing our grand total to 4,838. Shout out to all the bars, their staff, and those cheers-ing from afar! Whether this is goodbye or see you next year, I love you Chicago! #JonsTab pic.twitter.com/OTEIO2gOjc
— Jon Lester (@JLester34) November 2, 2020
Why so much in tips? As his former Red Sox teammate Ryan Dempster noted, Lester added a 34 percent gratuity to match his roster number.
While Lester is a free agent after the Cubs declined to pick up a $25 million option for the 2021 season -- no surprise for a pitcher who will be 37 on Opening Day and who had a 5.16 ERA this past season -- he's open to remaining in Chicago and would like to get seven more wins to reach 200 for his career.
A Tale of Two Cities
Jon Lester's ERA in nine seasons with the Red Sox, where he had a .636 win percentage (110-63).
Jon Lester's ERA in six seasons with the Cubs, where he had a .636 win percentage (77-44).
"Since Day 1 it's been awesome to be a part of. They have made my family feel like family and accepted us from the beginning. It's been a fun ride, and hopefully the ride is not over," Lester said, according to ESPN. "I know there is some doubt as far as the money that's out there, but I would like to think we can definitely get this thing done."
So now Red Sox fans have another reason to be upset with ownership for not paying up to keep Lester in Boston six years ago. If they had, maybe Lester would've paid for beers for Sox fans instead of Cubs fans.