In 1978, there was Bucky "Bleeping" Dent. In 2003, there was Aaron "Bleeping" Boone. Two unlikely players that broke the hearts of Red Sox fans. In 1978, following the Red Sox titanic collapse, Dent's Home Run came in a playoff game just to make it to the playoffs. The Yankees did....and they won the World Series. In 2003, the Red Sox collapsed in game 7 of the ALCS, and in extra innings, Boone's home run sent the Yankees to the World Series. Any time you mention either of these players to Red Sox fans, they are not referred to as Dent or Boone....you are required to say their full names....Bucky "Bleeping" Dent and Aaron "Bleeping" Boone.
Well, next Tuesday, when the MLB rosters expand to 40, and Boone is called up from AAA to join the Houston Astros, everyone will be rooting for him. He would even get a standing ovation in Fenway Park.
This past off-season, after Boone signed with the Astros, he developed a congenital defect in his aortic valve. Basically his heart wasn't working right. He is only 36 years old. He underwent open heart surgery. And now, 5 months later, he is going to be playing in a major league baseball game. It's not about money. It's not about fame. It's not even about winning (the Astros are out of contention for a playoff berth). For Boone, it's just about making it back. It's about doing his job. One more shot. I don't know if he'll play past this year, but just for him to get to step on a major league baseball field again is a wonderful story.
And it also speaks volumes to the Astros organization. They could have turned their back on him. Technically, they owed him nothing. He had only signed with the team this past off season. They could have cut him loose after it was discovered that he would need surgery. But they stuck with him and allowed him to attempt to make it back, just one more time. He has batted only .158 in stops in AA and AAA. For most players, this would get them cut. But in 2009, Boone is not most players. He is going to get his shot. And quite frankly, it's the right thing to do. In an age, when a 21 year old pitcher who's never thrown a pitch past college held out until the deadline, just to make sure he got his $15 million dollar contract, Boone is the story worth celebrating.
I'm not sure if Boone will ever get rid of the moniker Aaron "Bleeping" Boone amongst Red Sox fans, but when he does step on that field again next week one thing is for sure, it will be a bleeping miracle.