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.