One week ago, I wrote to the 51 Red Sox Nation governors and asked them, “If you could write a 100-word letter to any Red Sox player, coach, or front office person (or the whole team) about the 2008 season, and you knew that that person would read your letter, to whom would you write and what would you say?” Below are the letters I have received so far. Please contribute your own brief letters in the comments section.
Dear Jon Lester,
Thank you for being the most inspirational story in all of baseball. 27-8 to start your career with two postseason wins, a World Series ring and a no-hitter under your belt already. You are quickly becoming one of the most elite pitchers in the game before our very eyes and it is players like you that make me proud to call myself a Red Sox fan. So to you Mr. Lester, I sincerely thank you for being such an inspiration to me as well as the rest of Red Sox Nation. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.
— Jared Carrabis, Red Sox Nation Governor of Massachusetts (http://soxspacenews.com)
Dear Justin Masterson,
Congratulations to the Red Sox for a successful season and to you, Justin, for a totally outstanding rookie year. When you came up to the show last April it appeared that the Red Sox had another ace. Winning your first four starts at Fenway Park was incredible. So, it was difficult to understand why you were sent down to become a relief pitcher. Does Terry know baseball or what? Your return to the Red Sox as a stopper was truly sensational. The poise and confidence you exude spreads throughout the team. Special congratulations for topping off the season by winning one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history.
— Hank Larsen, Red Sox Nation Governor of Oklahoma
Dear 2008 Red Sox,
Thank you for making my days rock! Your hard work and dedication didn’t go unnoticed and your determination inspires me to do my best at my job every day. You fill a void that nothing else can. You don’t realize it fully, but you unite a whole lot of people that would otherwise have nothing in common. You DO create a NATION of sorts and for that reason, you are AMBASSADORS of goodwill! Since I cannot write each player individually, I will ask the skipper, Terry Francona, to deliver that message for me. And while he’s at it, he should give himself a pat on the back, too!
— Lety Haynes, Red Sox Nation Governor of Arizona
Dear Theo Epstein,
Thank you for working to bring a winner to Boston every year. The list of aggressive moves is long: claiming Millar off waivers before the 2003 season which kept him from Japan; putting Manny on irrevocable waivers; spending Thanksgiving with the Schillings; dealing Nomar; admitting mistakes like the Renteria signing; letting the 2006 team struggle because there was no quick fix; bidding on Matsuzaka; drafting good but expensive young players; and trading Manny. So, now the offseason is upon us and we get to watch you play. That you take calculated risks makes rooting for the Red Sox a year-round joy.
— Ben Crawford, Red Sox Nation Governor of Virginia
Dear Kevin Youkilis,
Thank you for giving us such a tremendous season of baseball. I really appreciate the way you play the game. I love baseball. It’s fun. And we can learn so much from baseball about life. You demonstrate those lessons every day. You play with your whole heart. You are engaged with every pitch. You run out every hit ball, often turning outs to hits. You chase any ball that comes near you. You’re a good team player. Even when the team is down 7-0, you never give up. You are an inspiration to all of us, to live each moment to the fullest, to do our best, and to never, never give up. With deep appreciation,
— Eleanor LeCain, Red Sox Nation Governor of Washington, D.C.
Dear Mike Lowell,
I just wanted to thank you for playing the game the right way. It was clear to the most casual observer that you were far from 100% for most of the season, but you still gutted it out to the best of your ability. It was actually painful for me to watch you during September and October but I never heard you complain. I look forward to a healthy Mike Lowell and another World Series title in 2009. Have a restful and rejuvenating winter. Sincerely,
— Jud Barber, Red Sox Nation Governor of Alabama
Dear Dustin Pedroia,
Nice job this year. You showed all of the characteristics that make me proud to be a Red Sox fan. Take care of your fingers; you will need them to be in good shape for all those rings you will be winning in the next few years. GO SOX!
— Drew Jackman, Red Sox Nation Governor of Tennessee
Dear Jason Varitek,
You’ve been an integral part of this team and the city of Boston for a long time, and I want you to know that I appreciate your efforts over these years. I am sure that no one is more disappointed than you to be watching the Series rather than playing in it. While it’s true I cursed your struggles in the post season, I respect how you wore your C with pride and gave all you had for your teammates and your team. I hope that you and the Red Sox come to an agreement that keeps you in Boston; but should you decide to part ways, please do so with positive memories and the knowledge that the fans of Boston appreciate your sacrifices and constant professionalism. Go Sox!
— Nathan Emerson, Red Sox Nation Governor of Wyoming
Dear Red Sox,
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for such an exciting season! The crazy, impossible catches from Youk, the exhilarating hits from Pedroia, Drew, and Bay, Tito’s great love of Double Bubble (also my fav!), I could go on and on. It was a truly stand-up performance this season by everyone. The way you pull together in the worst of times and the precision with which you all play is the best. You show us by your example what a “team” really is. That is why we love you so much. 2009 here we come!
— Niki Gallagher, Red Sox Nation Governor of Nebraska
Dear 2008 Red Sox,
Thank you for what you gave and taught my family this season. For teaching my sons they are as important to you as grownups are through Kids Nation. For tickets in Conigliaro’s Corner around which we planned a vacation that will be remembered forever! For playing in Minnesota, which gives us our only chance to enjoy a game in the Metrodome. For putting team ahead of player and trading Manny and reminding us that hustle matters! For teaching us you go to work even when you need surgery. Lastly, for Game 5, which taught us to never, ever give up! Thank you,
— Bob Boucher, Red Sox Nation Governor of Minnesota
Dear Mr. David Ortiz,
I know it was a difficult postseason for you, but I have faith that you will be able to get back to the high caliber player you were in 2004 and 2007. You showed us a glimpse of that Big Papi with the 3-run HR in Game 5. However, maybe during the off-season you can work on hitting or bunting the ball towards 3rd base/left field to beat the shift. That way, next time there is a hit and run and Pedroia is trying to steal 2nd, you can prevent the strike out/throw out double play. A “little” hit in that situation could have made the difference in getting those pesky 2 runs we desperately needed in game 7. Sincerely,
— Heather Mascuch, Red Sox Nation Governor of New Jersey (http://redsoxnationgovnj.mlblogs.com/)
Dear Jason Varitek,
I realize that you’re probably still dealing emotionally with the Red Sox’s recent Series loss in Tampa Bay. I hope in a short time (if not already) you will feel very proud about the great 2008 Boston Red Sox team and al
l that was accomplished. There were of course many obstacles put in the team’s path for another championship and I for one feel that the team overcame adversity admirably well, particularly under your leadership as Captain. Considering there is mounting talk about your future with the team (something that¹s certainly out of the fans’ control), I felt that this was a good time for a huge fan such as myself to let you know what your inspiring performance and leadership has meant to me over the years. Jason, you have truly been the heart and soul of this team and worn the “C” on your uniform with style and class. To me you are the type of player that all athletes should strive to be: honest, very hard working, focused, and a true team player. No matter what happens in the future, I and most Red Sox fans will always wish you well and remember what a true member of the Red Sox you have been and will forever be. Best wishes always,
— Chris Porter, Red Sox Nation Governor of Washington
Dear Red Sox Organization,
On the field, the players and coaches were amazing and so professional. Off the field, you were even more inspiring. The amount of time that everyone spends with their different charities is unbelievable. So many times you see pro athletes that only care about how much they get paid and then do not give back to their local communities or their fans in general. Being out in South Dakota, it is fun and interesting to hear players on radio streams, such as Kevin Youkilis on WAAF. Whether you win or lose, I am proud to be a Red Sox fan and to be a part of all the great things you are accomplishing and all the lives you change off the field. Thanks for being such an inspiration and not being like every other typical athlete.
— Sara Brusseau, Red Sox Nation Governor of South Dakota
Rob, since I represent the members of the Nation from here in North Carolina, I put the word out that there might be an opportunity to submit a 100-word message to the Sox. Our members came up with some nice work. The best are below; I’ll let you choose.
Dear Dustin Pedroia,
There is something magic in every game you play. I really admire your determination, guts, and spirit, which all shine through. I enjoy watching the team play, but to me you are the shining star. I always say that I wish they would pay you what you are worth. I also loved your “dancing” video. I have to assume the guys gave you a hard time because you are a fun person at heart. It just made me admire you even more. You will always be the MVP in my book. Thanks for making watching baseball so great for me!
— Kim R., North Carolina
Dear Terry Francona,
You did an amazing job this season, given all that went on. We had a superstar who quit, injuries to major players, rookies in important positions, and YOU need back surgery! This is a lot for one man to put up with, but you did a great job keeping us in the race and leading the Sox to yet another playoff berth. Here’s to the best manager in MLB! Get well soon!
— Mike D, North Carolina
From me, a simple thanks to all the fellas for that incredible Game 5 comeback – it will live with me forever. Thanks for reminding me to never give up, and for making me so proud to be a Sox fan.
— Sean Bunn, Red Sox Nation Governor of North Carolina
Dear J.D. Drew,
I would like to thank you for coming through so strong so many times this year. I was proud to see that you were recognized for your toughness and professionalism, because I think in the past (with the Cards) you were given a bad rap and inappropriately accused of not caring or not being tough. I would also like to point out a great moment, one that not many people may have noticed. In the ninth inning of game 2 against the Angels, you hit your two run homer (which everyone noticed) but I saw something that actually made me happier and pointed out to my son who so looks up to the players. When you sat down in the dugout, the camera caught you with the biggest smile cracking your usual calm exterior, and you looked like a kid having the best time of your life. I thought that was truly special – it’s what the game is all about. Thanks,
— James Fletcher, Red Sox Nation Governor of Arkansas
Dear Red Sox team, coaching staff, and front office personnel:
I would like to congratulate every one of you for the tremendous effort this season. With many adversities this year, ranging from the exhausting travel schedule beginning this season, injuries to key players, and personal changes in the middle of the year, this season was nothing less than a miracle. To make it into the playoffs and get to Game 7 of the ALCS is incredible. If you had told me in spring training everything that would happen to this team, I would have told you there was no way we would be in the playoffs. I’m holding my head up high, proud to be part of Red Sox Nation.
— Jim Silva, Red Sox Nation Governor of Hawaii
Dear Kevin Youkilis,
Thank you for a fantastic season. I want to tell you how much I appreciated your talent and athleticism. Your ability to take over 3rd base (and do it well) was so important to the team’s success this year. The Red Sox organization is always touting its philosophy that it’s a team of guys and not a bunch of individuals on ego trips, and your flexibility exemplifies this attitude. Enjoy the winter break and see you in Fort Myers in the spring.
— Kelly Thompson, Red Sox Nation Governor of Idaho
p.s. Loved the shout out to your “fiance and the little one” – as a female fan I like to see a glimpse of the personal side of the players.
Dear 2008 Red Sox,
As the Governor of Red Sox Nation for the state of New Hampshire I would like to not only thank the entire Red Sox Team, Terry, and the coaching staff for a phenomenal season but also to acknowledge my appreciation for the hard work you all put into playing each and every time you take the field. I have been a Red Sox Fan my entire life and I think I can speak for the members of Red Sox Nation in NH in saying we will keep believing in you and look forward to the 2009 seaon. Thanks again for a GREAT YEAR!!! GO SOX!!!
— Janice Page, Red Sox Nation Governor of New Hampshire
To the Red Sox:
It was great season and a great game 5 comeback. We’re looking forward to the 2009 campaign.
To Terry Francona:
I want to thank you, Tito, for being who you are….the best Red Sox manager in my lifetime and probably in the history of the club. You are a remarkably strong, thoughtful and caring man. I cannot say how much you are admired here in Red Sox Nation.
— Eric Weisman, Red Sox Nation Governor of Kentucky
Dear Coco Crisp,
Congratulations on a wonderful season! You not only proved to be the best center fielder on the Red Sox roster and one of the best in the league, you also asserted your rightful to claim to being one of the five best centerfielders in Red Sox history. And you did this while fighting for the “job” and against the wishes of a substantial portion of the fan base. But you hung in with maturity and poise and proved them all wrong. Have a great off-season, and I look forward to seeing you in centerfield for the Sox in the spring of 2009. My wife Phyllis and I sat close by to your wife and daughter at spring training. You are a lucky guy to have such a beautiful family rooting for you.
— C. Ted Schmidt, Jr., Red Sox Nation Governor of Rhode Island
This is for Mr.Epstein:
You have done a super job over the years. Now we need a BIG BAT and a pitcher of Beckett and DiceK quality, but my main question is, are you looking for a catcher that can throw out runners out and hit more then .220 and run well? Maybe it is time to let one of our young catchers step up. Do you agree these are the three concerns? Maybe Lowrie as utility man and get a shortstop somewhere. Th
— Phil Price, Red Sox Nation Governor of Delaware
Dear Red Sox Players, Coaches, and Front Office,
Being a loyal fan of the Boston Red Sox has been an exciting and rewarding journey, and 2008 was yet another example. Since 2000, we have not had a repeat World Series Champ, but this year we were so close to achieving that. Through many injuries, this team battled to make the playoffs, and that says a lot about their dedication. I can speak for all of the members of Red Sox Nation in Illinois when I say, thanks for another great season, and enjoy your off-season. See you in the spring. Sincerely,
— Brendan Mulcahy, Red Sox Nation Governor of Illinois
Dear Manny Ramirez,
I want to thank you for your time and service in
Boston. Your bat can never truly be replaced, and even your antics
(some) will be missed. There is no doubt that you were an integral part
of our first two world championships in 86 years. Nothing will take
that away. You earned $160 million while here, plus several
playoff/world series shares. Your award bonuses alone would be enough
for most Americans to retire on. I’d like to think that the
satisfaction of your team’s accomplishments, and the knowledge of what
these titles meant to the fans of Red Sox Nation, are equally
valuable… but that’s probably a stretch. Having said all that, given
all that you’ve done, please don’t think for a minute that what you did
to us in the end will be forgotten.
I can understand in part why
you blame the media, but the fact is that you quit on your fans and
your team. The very people who’s small but hard-earned paychecks gave
you your large ones. Your sudden NL production was no fluke and we all
know it. It’s a terrible thing you did to us. I can’t even bring myself
to think of the “what ifs” had you decided to play your heart out for
us as you did for them. I’ll never boo you Manny. (Excluding a
pinstripe appearance.) I will rise in a standing ovation upon your
return, but alongside goofy, you will now always be remembered as
selfish, greedy, shallow, unfaithful and untrustworthy. Thanks for
something and nothing,
— Glen Jardine, Red Sox Nation Governor of Vermont
P.S. How dare you make me agree with Tim McCarver on something. Not cool man.
Dear Theo Epstein,
The 2008 season was dramatic, exciting, and fulfilling for Red Sox fans – even without a World Series appearance. At the same time, it begs the question: what has to change in order for the Sox to repeat as world champs in 2009? Good luck in your quest to determine the answer to that most difficult question.
— Karen Kupiec, Red Sox Nation Governor of Connecticut
Dear Jason Bay,
I appreciate how you filled some shoes that were not easy to fill. Manny was a big part of the Red Sox team, but you gladly filled that spot, overlooking the pressure that you might have felt. I am so grateful that you quickly adjusted and helped us reach the postseason. Your presence on the team made a big impact on team dynamics; I could tell that other players enjoyed playing with you, and that you enjoyed being in Boston. Thank you, Mr. Bay, for a great first season with the Red Sox!
— Melissa Rehon, Red Sox Nation Governor of Utah
Dear Jason Varitek,
Thank you, the team and the entire organization for one of the most incredible Red Sox baseball seasons ever! Starting with early morning games from Japan, through watching some team players achieve record milestones, stealing first place form the Rays prior to the All Star Break, making the playoffs, and playing some of the most inspiring and captivating baseball ever even with injuries and adversity. I also want to personally thank you for your perseverance and always performing as the ultimate professional and Team Captain. It is this type of example, which helps us all get through these tough times and believe as long as we have a chance and perform as hard as we can we can win at anything! For the Glory!
— Bill Moore, Red Sox Nation Governor of Pennsylvania
To the Boston Red Sox,
Thank you for the excitement you bring to our household. We thoroughly enjoy every minute of your 162 game schedule, the post season, and even action that takes place in the off season. Watching the Red Sox brings our family together in the evenings and gives us conversation fodder at the dinner table. You have provided us with so many lasting memories over the years. Thanks again for the great jobs everyone does throughout the year, we appreciate it.
— Bob Lever, Red Sox Nation Governor of North Dakota
Dear Red Sox Players and Coaches,
We would like to thank each and
everyone of you guys in the dugout this year. There were so many
reasons to make excuses. From flying halfway around the world for
Opening Day, all the injuries to deal with and personal discord (just
to name a few). But you fought through all of it and you were still
only one game away from the series. You never gave up, YOU NEVER MADE
EXCUSES and you should all be proud of that. I know we are. So go back
home and enjoy some well deserved personal time off. For Mikey, Papi,
Josh and of course Tito … Get well soon. And if you make it to Texas
this off-season, let us know .. we would like to shake your hands and
— John Mathews, Red Sox Nation Governor of Texas
was a great addition to the team and he quickly won the hearts of the
Fenway Faithful and RSN. Your continued dedication has helped the Red
Sox put together the best run of seasons in nearly a century. Red Sox Nation thanks you for your continued hard work and dedication to the Red Sox! Best,
First of all, thanks for a great season in 2008. The team played
great right to the end and we are very proud of what they accomplished
this year, especially with all the adversity and injuries we had to play
through. How do you keep the team focused during the off-season and build on this momentum heading into the 2009 campaign?
Thanks again. West Virginia loves the Sox!
— Todd Barrett, Red Sox Nation Governor of West Virginia
To the team:
Thank you for the effort, heart, strength and dedication you all showed throughout the season. You make us so proud to be Boston Red Sox Fans. We’ll forever remember game 5 in the ALCS and the incredible feeling we had witnessing a historic comeback that will never be duplicated or taken away from us. What a magnificent battle! Francona giggling after the win was sweetness defined. (Unless you were an owner of the Dubble Bubble Company.) Truly, a great season. Cannot wait for ’09. Thank you again. Sincerely,
— Karen Doherty, Red Sox Nation Governor of California
Dear Red Sox Players, Coaches, and Staff,
Even though as fans we always
want our team to go all the way, we know it is not always easy. Making it to the postseason and being on top as one of the two best teams in the American League while other teams were playing golf is more than enough to make us proud. There
are days when you get up in the morning and things aren’t the way you
had hoped they would be. Sometimes winning is not all that matters, it’s
the footprints you leave while playing the game, and you guys did that in game 5. History and being part of that history sometimes is worth more than a win. Thank you for a great year and I hope to see all of you back as part of the Red Sox in 2009. WE ARE VERY PROUD TO BE RED SOX FANS.
— Alexa Jimenez, Red Sox Nation Governor of Florida
To download the songs, “I’m A Member of Red Sox Nation” and “Opening Day” for free, please visit my other blog, Crawdaddy Cove.