"I can’t believe the news today," but Bronson Arroyo signed an extension with the Reds.
Good for Bronson… if, perhaps, not so good for me.
He holds a special place in Red Sox lore for me. All but a castoff from the Pirates, when he pitched for the Sox he was good. Much is made of the ace, of the dominant starter at the top of the rotation; the innings-eating, reliably okay-to-good 4 or 5 starter is underappreciated. Particularly one as talented, as personable, and as downright determined (even if I perhaps can’t repeat Schill’s comment on MLB!) as Arroyo.
He had a rangy physique and a distinctive leg kick.
July 3, 2005.
Not to mention a handsome face.
July 31, 2005.
August 4, 2005.
I worried a little anytime I saw him carting around a bucket of balls–he looked too tall and slender for that kind of work!
September 2, 2005.
I really enjoyed seeing him hanging out with buddy Lenny DiNardo.
October 1, 2005.
I was delighted to try out the new camera on Bronson in Spring Training, catching both a belly flash…
… and the distinctive green St. Patrick’s Day uniform.
March 17, 2006.
But it was shortly thereafter that I learned that would be my last photo of Bronson in a Sox uniform for a while.
I’m hard pressed to say I don’t believe–if a little hopefully–in karma, and i worried about the 2006 Red Sox from that moment on. Partially, because I think you trade away reliable starting pitching at your peril. But partially because Bronson had signed a contract with the Sox in good faith. Faith–a word that means so much to a Sox fan. I understand the business, really I do–but there were greater aspects of human character on the line here, and they were ill-served by the decision to trade him.
I did see the Reds in Cincinnati, but because of a willingness to pitch on short rest in September I wound up not seeing Bronson pitch. I did see folks walking the streets of Cincinnati in "Arroyo 61" jerseys; I did see plenty of Arroyo gear in the Reds team store. I guess it was the "Got Bronson?" tee that brought a bit of a tear to my eye. I suppose he couldn’t have had the success, the opportunity, he had in Cincy if he were still in Boston. But I missed him.
In December Bronson appeared at a dinner, autograph signing and performance event for Sure Shot.
December 17, 2006.
And there I got a photo I (obviously) didn’t take myself…
I told Bronson I hoped to see him back at Fenway, and he said he missed it; he’d worked out there that day.
But I can scarcely blame him for signing his extension. And my disappointment is really only my respect for him, and my gratitude for 2004, and my appreciation for his time here. I wish him all success.