Clay Buchholz has been traded to the Phillies, as Carrabis has already alerted you. Boston’s favorite whipping boy is out the door and I haven’t the faintest idea what people will choose to blame Red Sox losses on this year. For the last few years it seemed like Buchholz didn’t even have to appear in a game in order to incur the wrath of fans, talking heads, and mumbling homeless people. If something went wrong in New England, be it a baseball game or bad weather, it was always Clay Buccholz’s fault.
Well guess what? I never did that. I never hated Clay Buchholz and as I sit here today, I still don’t. I’d go so far as to say that I’m not even a fan of the move. Does that make me a sucker? Perhaps. An idiot? Certainly possible. But those are the facts. To me, the Buchholz hate was always way overblown and way out of control.
Was he the ace we always hoped he’d be? No, he never lived up to that. But that’s kind of the problem, isn’t it? We set the bar too high? I don’t totally blame people for that mistake, as a no-no in your second start tends to poison the well of reason, but hating an athlete because he fails to live up to your expectations always strikes me as a bit strange. Buck didn’t thump his chest and say he was a superstar, you did that.
Plenty of athletes get defiant when met with criticism but Buchholz always owned it. He seemed to genuinely care that he wasn’t pitching well and was letting people down. I’ll never hate an athlete like that. We’ve dealt with our Becketts and Lackeys who basically spit in your eye when they were injured and underperforming, but Buchholz always looked like a mangy dog (probably due to the hair) who’d just pissed on the rug. He wanted to be better, he just wasn’t.
Even aside from that fact, Buchholz will always get a pass for me because of the 2013 World Series. He had NOTHING in the tank but took the ball with a dead arm and couldn’t even hit 90, while literally looking like he might die on the mound, and gave the Sox four crucial innings and a chance to win (which they did). After the game he even said he’d go again in game 7 if it came to that. As often as he gets called soft, that game is a pretty strong argument to the contrary. He warred up when the team needed him.
So adios to Clay. I’m not wild about the move but I can admit it’s probably the best for all involved. Buchholz needed a change and the people of Boston can probably stand to learn that everything bad in their life wasn’t his fault.