For any true Red Sox fan, it's hard to come across the news of Mike Timlin's workout in Colorado last week without feeling at least a little sentimental.
New England has a soft spot for guys like Timlin. And it should. He
gave the Red Sox everything he had for six years at the tail end of his
career, and the Sox have two World Series banners hanging as a product
of that era. Timlin is one of a select group of Red Sox — along with Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek and a few others — that had a hand in both titles. No one can ever take that away from him.
decline of Timlin's career in Boston was frustrating at the time, but
perfectly forgivable in retrospect. After a great season in 2007,
helping the Red Sox win another title, he returned to the team in 2008
and turned 42 in spring training. He was well past his prime — the
fastball wasn't fast, the breaking ball wasn't breaking. He didn't have
We can forgive him for that. A lot of athletes have
stints in Boston that don't work out — and this city can be
unforgiving, but it can also be compassionate. There are some that come
to the Red Sox in their primes and flame out (Keith Foulke, Edgar Renteria, Matt Clement) — those will be forgotten. But in Boston, guys like Mike Timlin are still loved.
came to the Red Sox in his late thirties. It was his sixth major league
team. He had already given 12 years to the game, pitched almost 1,000
innings and won two rings. He could have easily been a bust in Boston,
faded away, and moved on with his life. Instead, he won two more rings.
was a great setup man in Boston for years, the star of an experiment
that no one expected to work out so well. It's a shame that his career
with the Red Sox had to come to an end.
But if he's not done with
the game yet, then no one in Boston should miss getting another chance
to pull for the old reliever with the camouflage undershirt.
new start in Colorado would be a great move for the 43-year-old Timlin.
He's told the Denver Post that he wants to pitch again in the major
leagues if asked — and why shouldn't the Rockies give him a shot?
Timlin isn't young. But he'd be making the shift to the lighter-hitting
National League, a brilliant career move for a guy who could really use
a fresh start. Timlin is well equipped to pitch into his forties —
he's reinvented himself with his pinpoint control, evolving into a
pitcher crafty enough to keep getting men out. That control abandoned
him in his miserable 2008 in Boston, but what better way to get it back
than to jolt his confidence with a comeback in the NL West?
Rockies are still alive in the National League this year. In fact,
they're currently embroiled in a tight battle for the NL wild card.
More pitching depth can never hurt in the midst of a pennant race —
and when the guy you're adding is just two years removed from a solid
season for a World Series winner, he's worth a look.
Word of Timlin's potential comeback came out of Denver a week ago. And since then we've heard nothing.
Here's to hoping someone breaks that silence.
Timlin has had more longevity as a relief pitcher than almost anyone in the history of the game. With a pitcher like that, you always hate to think that it's all over.
In his case, it might not be. We shall see.
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