K Foulke 1.2 0 0 0 0 3 0 20-13 3.55
See that up there? That is my face, superimposed on a picture of Keith Foulke. Said picture of Keith Foulke, with my face on it, comes up in the very first page of a GIS for his name.
I think it's safe to say that Keith Foulke is a pretty textbook example of someone who is "my boy".
In fact, I think it's safe to say that since midway through the season last year, I'm the only one who'd tell you sincerely that Keith Foulke was still "my boy." For almost the last year, Keith Foulke has had a Bandwagon of One in Boston, and that One has been me.
Last year, I was probably quite literally the last person to even admit that he was having, you know...kind of an off year. It wasn't until Sam came along with some facts, figures, and devastating numbers in a post meant specifically for me in order to demonstrate that in fact, Foulke was not only bad but the worst closer in the Major Leagues that I was even able to get to that point.
Knee surgery; divorce; attempts at a comeback; Burger King remarks; hockey fandom; ill advised blown-out-of-proportion comments about not liking baseball...for the past year, being an out-of-the-closet Keith Foulke fan has not been remotely pretty. And yet the whole time, I have never once turned my back on him. Not once. I defy you to find one time I ever said, that's it, Foulke sucks, let's get rid of him and I'm taking my jersey and number tee down to the Salvation Army.
But this wasn't for lack of effort on the part of those wanting me to see reason. As recently as a week and a half ago when I was going to my second Sox game in two days and didn't think it would be couth to show up at work in the exact same outfit I'd worn the day before (including Schilling jersey), I wore the Foulke home jersey instead.
And first thing in the morning, the horseshit began. I'm in the cafeteria in my office building getting a bagel and one of the counter guys at the grill frying up omelets for the weary businessmen shouts--SHOUTS--to me over the sizzle of the bacon on the grill and the other various pots and pans being slammed about, "HEY NICE SHIRT TOO BAD HE DOESN'T HAVE ANY SKILLS."
I mean it. There I am. Minding my business, toasting a bagel, getting ready to start my workday, and I catch shit from a fry cook about how bad Keith Foulke sucks. This has been my life.
It wasn't over then, either. Back in the kitchen in my office getting some coffee, I got stopped by a coworker of mine, who this time wanted to ask me, gently, why it was I liked Keith Foulke so much. He wanted to walk me through it, piece by piece. He wanted to reason with me if he could.
All day. Whenever a "29" appears on my back, I hear about it. And yet, it still appears on my back, time after time--not just on Laundry Day. And I keep shaking my head at the attempts to dissuade me from my affection. I am, I would like to believe, Keith Foulke's biggest fan. If there's been a more determined, irrationally loyal, prepared-to-fight-the-haters fan of that man than me, I'd like them to come forward now, or forever hold their peace.
Then, well, today Foulke threw up the line you'll see above. He didn't come in in the ninth, but he came in in a crucial situation--two men on base, the Sox clinging to a one-run lead. And for the next 1 2/3 innings, he did beautifully--allowing a few long foul balls in his typical heart-attack fashion, but he got it done and then some. His performance today was the turning point in the game, and he was more than solid--he was very nearly flawless. He was Rem-Dawg's official Top Dog of the game, and even Jim Ed Rice was "tipping his cap" to Foulke in the postgame.
I would like, then, to take this moment to announce that I am not prepared to be in any way gracious toward my fellow Red Sox fans if Foulke is indeed back to form. If what we saw from him today keeps coming with any consistency--if he returns to his position as the closer, freeing up Papelbon to return to the rotation--I'm taking this moment to let you all know that this is remaining a Bandwagon of One. Anyone who wants to call themselves a Keith Foulke fan can walk along beside it--still a free country, after all. But no applications for admission back on the Keith Foulke Bandwagon will be accepted from this day forward. You should also know I'm prepared to crow about it. I'm prepared to be obnoxious and get in everyone's face about how I was right and they were wrong and they can all bite me.
In other words, I'm more than prepared to be at least as obnoxious about it as everyone's been to me.
P.S. I want it also to be known that I still love Jonathan, very, very much, and that he also did a fantastic job today in the bottom of the ninth, especially when he struck out Professional Pain in the Ass Vernon Wells and then got Very Scary Man Troy Glaus to GIDP.