Baseball’s anti-Manny could out-Lance Lance

Jon Lester needs a bracelet.

Maybe a beaded necklace. Anything that would allow the rest of us to celebrate his journey.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander is a cancer survivor, one among millions throughout the nation (thankfully). But he’s the only one standing on the mound in Fenway park as perhaps the most dominant pitcher – and maybe most critical player not named Manny – remaining in the postseason.

I know October is breast cancer awareness month, and not enough can be done to bring awareness to the journeys of the millions of mothers, daughters, sisters and friends stricken with the disease; nor enough money raised to support families and research in search of a cure.

But Lester, who was diagnosed two years ago with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, stands as a new beacon for anyone who has been touched by cancer, and that’s just about everyone.

He underwent chemo, enduring all of its trials, and has emerged now as an example of the possibilities – the inspiring and positive ones.

He’s Lance without the bracelets. But also Lance without the baggage.

Still just 24, Lester is the anchor/ace of the Red Sox staff. He started World Series-clinching Game Four against the Colorado Rockies last fall, and is the key to the Sox’s effort to beat the Rays in the ALCS and reach the Series once again. He went 11-1 at Fenway this season, including a no-no. His stats this season have had him being compared to a couple of other Sox legends, Lefty Grove and Babe Ruth.

Going into today’s Game 3 start, he had not allowed an earned run in 22 2/3 postseason innings.

That’s not just surviving, which is the aim for anyone stricken with cancer. It’s life after surviving, life still lived at its peak.

Give the guy some bracelets so we can all be reminded of that.


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