Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
In fact he may never be over it. But that didn’t stop the last standing Red Sox captain from fully immersing himself in “Jason Varitek Day” at Fenway Park, and enjoying all the gifts, standing ovations and thunderous appreciation that officially comes among with retiring as a conquering sports hero in Boston.
“It was surreal for me. To absorb what just happened I’m going to have to watch it,” said Varitek, who was moving around adroitly without the ice bags that always seemed to accompany his battered body during his playing days. “I tried to absorb it, but I don’t think I could. In my mind I’m there and thinking ‘they’re doing this for you’ and I in turn wanted to say thank you.”
Was it weird being on the Fenway Park grass in street clothes and a Sox jersey that had never been worn in the heat of battle?
“It’s weird. It was the weirdest when I had to retire [in spring training],” said Varitek. “That was the hardest. I just think it’s different. Instead of preparing you’re just in and out. This is a sacred place and a place you appreciate.
“I probably never will [come to terms with retirement]. But I’ll be all right.”
I'd rather not talk about yesterday's game, so let's focus on the Varitek tribute.
He's a pretty interesting guy in terms of how a fan base is attached to him. Statistically, he's really nothing to write home about. He had some nice years near his peak but still was a career .256 hitter and was short of 200 homers. He's not going to the Hall of Fame or anything...yet he gets honored at Fenway and probably will be a Johnny Pesky-like presence, coming and going through the park as he gets older. It certainly would not be surprising if in a few years he works his way through their minor league system to learn how to manage.
Anyway, I think it's pretty cool that he holds such a special place in Red Sox history, considering his main contibution was keeping a binder of every piece of information possible, and then calling a game based on it. Salty says he's learned a lot from Tek; hopefully that's true. It's worth mentioning that Tek had a much lower (by a run) catcher's ERA than Salty last year, and the starters certainly haven't improved, but many statty folks don't believe in CERA anyway, and there are certainly many other factors that could explain the pitching woes of this year.
And sure, Tek won a lot of games, got the most out of many pitchers, caught some no-hitters, and won two titles. But I think we all know what his best moment was.
CSNNE | Tek to Beckett, Lester: Stop dwelling on the negative | Offensive outage continues to plague Sox | Salty credits success to Varitek's support | Jays belt Cook's two mistakes | ESPNBoston | Red Sox approaching fever pitch | Edwin Encarnacion, JP Arencibia drive Jays past Sox | Lester getting fewer swings and misses | Red Sox honor Jason Varitek | Gordon Edes pays tribute to Tek | Globe | Blue Jays rally to sink Sox | Varitek receives some high praise | Their aces need a change in plans | Ross gives his side of story | A 'planned' day off for Jacoby Ellsbury | Herald | Another step back for frustrating Sox | Pumpsie Green reflects on historic day in '59 | Lester looking for luck | Two pitches spoil Aaron Cook's recipe