Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thank you, Jason Varitek

The above is a picture of my dorm room wall. Above my bed hangs a Jason Varitek poster, a Jason Varitek jersey, and three Red Sox hats. Of course, I have plenty of other Sox paraphernalia in the room (a locker, newspaper clippings, and wall hangings, to name a few), but it just seemed fitting that the Captain have a place of honor.

Jason Varitek has been with the Red Sox for thirteen seasons, and has accomplished many things along the way. Clearly, his skill set has eroded, so much so that Theo has publicly announced that he'll have to take a backup role for the first time since 1998, when he platooned with Scott Hatteburg (remember him?).

With all of Jason's struggles the last two years (exhaustively cataloged over at WEEI), I think certain Sox fans have lost sight of all the things he's done for us over the years. Do I want to see Varitek hitting in a crucial situation? Not unless the Tito, Heidi Watney, and the bat boy are all unavailable. But there's no one I respect more (except Tim Wakefield) for his service to the Boston Red Sox than Varitek.

People underestimate how hard being a catcher is on the body: it takes a tough toll on your knees and back especially, not to mention all of the inevitable bumps and bruises from misfired pitches and collisions at the plate.

Varitek has been a roster mainstay through "Cowboy Up!", the Idiots Era, and two World Series parades. He's seen countless pitchers come and go. He does his homework for each and every team, game, and player, and has game-calling skills lauded by the likes of Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling.

Then there are the intangibles: the effect he has on the clubhouse. Teammates rarely have a negative word to say about him:

Then, there's this:If you type "varitek" into the Google image search bar, its suggestions are "varitek arod fight," "varitek punches arod,"and "varitek and arod." As one of the least sympathetic characters in baseball history, A*Rod probably deserved the glove in his face, and there was no better course of action in the eyes of Red Sox Nation. Tek has been described as quiet, stoic, and even-keeled, but he's loyal when it matters, and fans should give him the same respect he's given us.

I don't see the Captain being a distraction on the bench; hopefully he takes responsibility for mentoring VMart. After this year, it's likely Tek will ride off into the metaphorical sunset, and though it might have been better if he saw the light and hung up his spikes early, it's time to show him our appreciation for his years of dedication.


  1. For all he's done for the team over the years, I hope theres a coaching job for him somewhere in the Sox organization after he retires.

  2. I completely agree with you. And I'm a tad bit jealous at your Tek wall...ok COMPLETELY jealous :-). But anyway, I agree with what you say about showing him how much we appreciate him. He got our pitchers through some really tough games and he's never been one to stop giving his all for the team. He embodies everything I think makes up a team captain. When VMart came up, rather than act like a spoiled overpaid brat (see Jorge Posada...sorry but I had to do it) and throw a fit because he felt he should be playing, he stepped aside and did what he felt was best for HIS team. Even throughout the playoffs, I'm sure he would have given anything to be out there, but he had an idea of what was best for his team.

    So I'm happy he came back and I do think that we should take every opportunity we can to show him how much we appreciate him.

  3. I have that same exact poster, which hung on my dorm room wall! Funny. I also have his jersey but it's not hanging up.

  4. I see a coaching job in Tek's future here but I just keep thinking,and I cannot help it, that every time he gets up to bat it's just too simple to get him out but then again I now think the same of David Ortiz. At least Tek has some usefulness behind the plate. I mean if your a DH who can't hit you've outgrown your effectiveness!

  5. Thank you for the pro-Varitek blog post. I think the decision he made was one where he contemplated being a backup for the first time in a long time to retiring or going with another team and he made the decision that he would rather be the backup Red Sox catcher than the starter anywhere else. I probably would have had to have some time to make that decision as well.

    Hell, he may even become the Jose Molina of the Red Sox. Beckett's numbers are VERY different with Tek behind the plate than Vmart. I know we got a chance to do a standing ovation for Varitek, but I think at the end of the season it needs to be planned out, and a chance to REALLY show our appreciation of his hard work and loyalty for 13 years including 2 world series rings.