Chances are you don’t know who Tim Wakefield is. That is unless you happen to be from Boston or a huge fan of baseball.
Tim Wakefield was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He was known for throwing a knuckleball – a slow pitch that “dances” on the way to the plate – if thrown well. When a knuckleball is dancing it is almost impossible for the hitter to hit. It can be difficult for the catcher to catch. When a knuckleball isn’t thrown well, it doesn’t dance, and major league hitters tend to blast it out of the park for a home run.
Tim Wakefield was a polarizing pitcher for Red Sox fans. Some didn’t like him because he was fairly average statistically and a few bad pitches could erase a lead very quickly. Others, such as myself, liked him a lot. There aren’t many minor league infielders who go on to win 200 games in the majors as a pitcher.
My favorite thing about Tim Wakefield though was his ability to “eat innings.” That’s a baseball expression for pitching a lot. Most starting pitchers can pitch every 5 or 6 days. However, Wakefield could pitch every 3 days. The knuckleball doesn’t put nearly as much strain on the shoulder, so recovery is a lot faster. He could even be used to relieve other pitchers in between stats.
Trust me, there’s a real money lesson coming. I wouldn’t waste 200 words and your time if there wasn’t.
I always believed that inning eaters had a lot of value to the team. If the team is down 8 to 1 and there’s not much of a chance of coming back, you could always “surrender” the game with an inning eater. Why would you do that? It helps keep the teams’ best players rested. Wakefield didn’t perform this role too often though. He was good enough that you didn’t want to waste him on a lost cause game. However, because he could pitch more often there were times when the Red Sox could use a roster spot on an extra hitter. It was a great insurance plan.
The Tim Wakefield Towels
A couple of years ago, we somehow got two free Tanger Outlet swim towels. I think they were a gift to military members who signed up for their reward program. They are very thin. They’re white with a big Tanger Outlet logo on them. They are the bare minimum of what you might consider a towel.
We use those towels ALL the time. The kids have been through two summer camps with them. It’s almost impossible for anything to last through a single summer camp.
The fact that the towels have almost no value is what makes them valuable. Replacement towels would cost us actual money. If we bought good towels, I’d be concerned that they’d get ripped or lost. They get the job done and “eat” summer camp days like Tim Wakefield ate innings.
There are a number of similar items to those towels in our house. We’ve got a lot of reusable takeout boxes for food storage. I supplement it with a few from the Dollar Store. Rather than send our good silverware to school, I bought a couple of sets from the Dollar Store as well. The kids haven’t lost too many pieces of silverware, but one would be too many. The cheap metal ones are better than throwing away a bunch of plastic forks and spoons each day.
This article isn’t really about Tim Wakefield or towels. It’s what they represent. It explains how I approach certain spending decisions. If I have a need where quality plays a minimal role, I’ll get by spending the least amount of money possible. The money I save can be funneled to other purchases where quality is more important or saved for later investing.