Thank You Fans!
February 25, 2012
From your website manager:
My contract with the website's hosting company expires tomorrow, February 26th. I will not be renewing the contract.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank all the many loyal fans that have followed the site for the past six years!
The complimentary emails, the news stories, the photos and fan stories you have all sent were all very much appreciated. The friends I have made over the past six and half years while doing this site has been the best part!
To the following fan contributors: Kelly O'Connor, R.L. Cooley, Nancy Nutile-McMenemy, Scott Dunham, Kim Wright Campbell, Michael Macaulay (whose artwork graces this post), Jennifer Gohra, Dori Burke, Lisa Stone, Lisa Means, Audrey Humphreys, Deanna Klein, Juliana Penta, Stefanie Machado, Anna Harkey, Jessica Papsedero, Sterling Alvarez, Barbara Shaw, Adriane Marshall, Luann Noyes, Lynn Ross, Caelin Mooney, and of course, Fenway Fruitgirl!
And to Sylvie Morin, who designed this site...
I'm glad you talked me into being your "guinea pig client" for that college project back in 2005, although at the time I thought you were nuts! I bet you never thought it would turn into a 6-1/2 year hobby for your "client" or that it would pave the way for an official website opportunity!
Thank you so much for your incredible patience in teaching me the ropes to take it over (after that passing grade came in)!! lol
God bless all of you!
More from Saltalamacchia...
February 19, 2012
If Jason Varitek has indeed caught his last game in a Red Sox uniform and will be retiring his spring, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will remember one act of kindness and generosity in particular.
Saltalamacchia was with the Braves in 2007 as a minor leaguer and made the trip to Fort Myers for a spring training game. He sent a Red Sox No. 33 jersey over to the Red Sox clubhouse to have the captain sign for him.
“He signed a jersey for me, and on it it said, ‘catch with pride.’ You take that and that’s what he’s done his whole career and I’m going to do the same.”
Now, ironically, Saltalamacchia – after taking over primary catching responsibilities in 2011 – is in position to assume the leadership role of the Red Sox pitching staff, with Kelly Shoppach and Ryan Lavarnway behind him.
The final words of advice he take from Varitek?
“Just be yourself, be who you are,” Saltalamacchia said. “People are going to like you for who you are. People are going to respect you for what you do about your business. There’s a lot of little things as far as catching, that I learned. It’s mainly to be a good person, a good teammate and respect the game.”
You can read more here.
Tek talks Wake
February 17, 2012
From the Boston Globe this evening:
"There is so much to say about Wake. He has been a part of so many things and he's meant so much to the game, the organization, the community, and personally as a friend and teammate for 14 years. He is a consummate professional with a one-of-a-kind talent that allowed this team flexibility, dependability, and endurance for 17 years. His competitiveness will be missed but his legacy and friendship will last a lifetime. It's sad to see it end but this will be an exciting new chapter for him in his life."
You can read more here.
Salty talks Tek
From ESPN.com this afternoon:
Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said he has talked with Varitek “here and there,” but insisted he doesn’t know what Varitek plans to do.
“He’s been busy this offseason with the wedding, home with his kids, but every time I’ve talked to him he’s been coming home from the gym, throwing, hitting,” Saltalamacchia said. "He’s prepared to play. He’s got to make a choice, too. Obviously I’d love to have him around. He helped me out a lot last year, he helped me this offseason."
The likelihood of Varitek walking into camp on Sunday?
"I wish I could answer that. I wish I could say it was 100 percent. I’d love for him to come. I try not to talk to him about those things. I care about him as a person and as a friend."
You can read more here.
Lucchino: Tek and Wake Invited To Camp
February 10, 2012
From WEEI.com this evening:
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, in an appearance on Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio's "Inside Pitch" had this to say about Jason and Tim Wakefield -
"We're hopeful that those guys will make decisions before spring training starts as to whether they would like to come back. They have each been invited to come to camp. But Tim is approaching his 46th year I think. Jason Varitek is approaching his 40th year. Those things are hard decisions. They have both been enormously valuable to the club," said Lucchino. "Whenever they choose to retire -- and retirement is inevitable at some point, obviously, whether it's this year or its next year -- we will always have a place of respect and admiration in the Red Sox organization. But the decisions are now kind of in their hands as to what they'd like to do in this particular season."
You can read more from Mr. Lucchino here.
Jason on Jorge Posada: "He is a true grinder"
January 24, 2012
From the Boston Globe today:
Long-time Yankees catcher Jorge Posada announced his retirement today.
Via the Yankees, here's a comment from Jason Varitek:
"After hundreds of head-to-head games during the regular season and the postseason, I can't say I respect and admire anyone at our position more than I do Jorge. The hard work and preparation he put into catching is a huge reason he has five championships on his resume. He is a true grinder."
Those guys would make for a great book given all they meant to two great franchises and all the drama they were involved with on the field over the years.
You can read more here.
Mr. Henry: Jason should "be a part of this organization for the rest of his life"
December 15, 2011
From ESPN's Joe McDonald this evening:
Whether veteran free-agent catcher Jason Varitek will continue his playing career remains uncertain, but Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and owner John Henry made clear Thursday that they want him to remain with the organization in some capacity.
"We have incredible respect for Tek. I have incredible respect for Tek on a personal level. We, as an organization and ownership, have incredible respect for him and for the contributions he's made," Cherington said.
"Our hope is that Tek will always be a part of the Red Sox in some way. As far as what position he's in immediately, what we want to do is keep talking to Tek and not discuss that in a public forum. We'll continue to talk to Scott [Boras] and Tek and figure out what's best for the Red Sox, and what's best for him. We look forward to doing that."
Henry concurred, saying at a Red Sox scholarship event at the Rhode Island state house Thursday he has been "trying to reach him this week" and that Varitek should "be a part of this organization for the rest of his life."
When asked what role he would like to see the captain to hold moving forward, Henry wouldn't commit to anything specifically.
"I don't want to discuss that until I have a chance to discuss it with him," Henry said. "I don't want to discuss it publicly."
You can read more from Mr. McDonald here.
"No catcher, not even Pudge Fisk, meant more to this franchise"
December 14, 2011
From The Republican's Ron Chimelis, this evening:
You are assigned to pick an all-time Red Sox team. You need a starting catcher.
You might pick Carlton Fisk. You would be mistaken.
The most impactful catching career in club history came to an almost certain end Tuesday, when Kelly Shoppach's signing seemed to close down Jason Varitek's career in Boston.
The Red Sox did not owe Varitek a roster spot. They might have owed him a better heads-up.
He backstopped two champions. He helped prove the Red Sox were not doomed to lose.
That's his legacy, more than catching 1,488 games, a club record, or four no-hitters, a major league record.
No catcher, not even Pudge Fisk, meant more to this franchise.
Let's not dwell on how it ended, but on how this man wore the so-called (and misnamed) tools of ignorance so well for so long, with an intelligence we have rarely seen.
You can read Mr. Chimelis' full column on the Captain here.
Praise for Tek
December 9, 2011
Catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway talk about the importance of Tek in the development of their careers -
From ESPN's Joe McDonald today:
If, in fact, Varitek does not return, both of his successors are thankful for the guidance they've received during their time as teammates with the veteran catcher.
"I had a blast last year," Saltalamacchia said of his first full season with the Red Sox. "I knew last year it could be my last time with him, just like the year before when I got traded over here. I tried to gain as much as I could from him, and we still have communication. That line is always going to be open, regardless if he's with me or not. I took advantage of every opportunity I had with him. To be able to play a full year and watch him, really helped me grow as a player and that's really going to help me succeed."
While Saltalamacchia finally came into his own in 2011, becoming Boston's starting catcher, Lavarnway enjoyed a tremendous season at the Double-A, Triple-A and major league levels. It started with his first invitation to big league camp and it ended with him behind the plate in the final game of the season. During the entire stretch he watched and learned from Varitek.
"Jason Varitek has been an absolute icon, not only in the Boston community, but in my heart for a very long time," Lavarnway said. "He's been my favorite catcher that I watched growing up, and if he doesn't come back next year, and I have the opportunity to get some more innings and try to make a bigger impact on this team, the biggest thing I know is that I'm not going to try to be Jason Varitek. I'm going to be Ryan Lavarnway and I'm going to do the things that I do well to help the team win."
You can read more here.
The Greg Hill Foundation is raising money to support the family of fallen Worcester Firefighter Jon Davies.
Early on the morning of December 8, 2011, while fighting a 3 alarm blaze in Worcester, firefighter Jon Davies sadly he lost his life in the line of duty. Jon Davies was a 17-year veteran and leaves behind three sons, two of whom are in the military, one currently serving in Afghanistan, in addition to a sister and a fiancee.
The Greg Hill Foundation will match any donations made to support the Davies family during this very difficult time. Help support their family by donating.
EchoStor Technologies has donated 4 Bruins Club Seats, a ride on the EchoStor Zamboni, and an autographed Brad Marchand jersey to the Saturday, February 11th game versus the Nashville Predators. This package will be auctioned off during the show and the proceeds will go directly to the Davies family.
Tune in to the WAAF Hill-Man Morning Show today (5:30 to 10:00 AM) to help support this family in need.
Jason has donated his personalized camo catchers gear to be auctioned off during the show with the proceeds benefit the Davies family.
Can't listen to the show? You can make your donation here.
New Red Sox GM Talks Tek
December 2, 2011
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined WEEI's Mut & Merloni Show this morning and was asked about the future status of Jason and Tim Wakefield with the team:
“I think those two guys in particular, given what they’ve meant to to the organization over a long period of time, they certainly deserve to hear from us and get honest and direct feedback on where we see things. We would not do anything else in the market that would block their ability to come back without talking about it first. I think they deserve that. And we’ve had some of those conversations. I also know that both those guys have a lot of pride and I think that they’d want to be back, only if there’s a real role on the team, an important role on the team, and that’s something we’re still working to determine.”
You can read more from his lengthy interview here.
No Arbitration Offer for Tek
November 25, 2011
From the Portland Press-Herald this week:
The Boston Red Sox announced tonight that they have offered salary arbitration to designated hitter David Ortiz and reliever Dan Wheeler.
The Sox did not offer arbitration to catcher Jason Varitek, knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield, lefties Erik Bedard and Trever Miller, and outfielders J.D. Drew and Conor Jackson.
By not offering arbitration to the other players, it does not mean Boston will not sign any of them. But the Red Sox are not obligated to keep any of them for the 2012 season.
You can read more here.
Six Years Ago Today....
November 1, 2011
Jason received his first Gold Glove Award and his first Silver Slugger Award!
"The Gold Glove, that's more important to me, to help out this team and organization to do what we did a year ago, but now try to do it again. That's the most important job that I have, to work with the pitchers and help them be the best they can be." - Jason, on the awards.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award is given to the best by those who best know how to evaluate performance. Rawlings established the Gold Glove Award to recognize the best fielders at each position. Managers of each team select a squad of the best defensemen in their league, excluding their own team.
Hillerich and Bradsby, the company that makes the popular Louisville Slugger bats, instituted the Silver Slugger Award in 1980. The award goes to the best hitter at each position in each major league, based on a combination of hitting statistics, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.
From an article written by MLB.com's Ian Browne on November 1, 2005 on the presentation of both awards:
For years now, the defense of Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has been equally marveled at by teammates, opponents, fans and media members. Finally, Varitek has a Gold Glove to go along with all the accolades.
When this year's Rawlings Gold Glove winners were unveiled on Tuesday, Varitek was named the top defensive catcher in the American League.
Not only was it a personal milestone for Varitek, it marked the first time that the Red Sox have had a Gold Glove winner since 1991, when Tony Peña -- also a catcher -- received the award.
Varitek was also selected the catcher of the American League's Silver Slugger team on Monday. He took more satisfaction from the Gold Glove because, in his view, it was more vital to the success of his team.
There is nothing cooler than seeing someone that's more than deserving, winning this award," Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling wrote in an e-mail early Wednesday morning. "Tek was phenomenal this year and incredibly deserving, the best part of this whole thing is how hard he works at this aspect of the game and sometimes how overlooked it can be."
You can read more from Mr. Browne on that day here.
You can see a larger version of the photo of the Gold Glove Award, taken by me here.
Seven Years Ago Today....
October 27, 2011
The long drought ended, not in drama, but in dominance.
The Boston Red Sox, so long the postseason portraits only of disappointment, made October their own in 2004, with a history-making Championship Series comeback and then a World Series sweep.
The 86-year gap between Boston's World Series championships ended at 11:40 p.m. ET Wednesday night with the simplest of acts, closer Keith Foulke making the short, underhand toss to Doug Mientkiewicz at first to retire Edgar Renteria.
"Give them credit, congratulate them on being the world champions," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said, with both grace and accuracy. "I mean, they outplayed us in every category, so it ended up not being a terrific competition, but give them credit and congratulate them."
You can read more from this MLB.com article here.
The 2004 Sox buried old myths and gave rise to new ones, streaked and tailspun, sold out the season at Fenway but refused to sell out their beliefs.
Above everything else, however, they spent the season reinforcing a sermon as old as sports itself, delivered by everyone from Noah to Knute Rockne to Jim Valvano:
"Don't give up. Don't ever give up."
The Red Sox were offered numerous excuses to pack it in, and tack another "Wait till next year" to the string. The double-blow of first-half injuries to Garciaparra and Trot Nixon. The familiar, midseason supremacy of the New York Yankees. Three months of .500 ball.
Steered by resolute manager Terry Francona and their own faith in one another, the Red Sox refused to fold. And by the time they reached October, resilience was in their blood, setting the stage for their best trick yet -- the one that will become their legacy.
You can read more from this MLB.com article here.
October 19, 2011
...with WAAF's Hillman Morning Show can be seen/heard in four segments via video, just click on the links:
You can read highlights from his interview here.
You can also read more from his interview with Peter Abraham at the Boston Globe here.
October 18, 2011
Jason spoke via phone to the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham:
Red Sox team captain Jason Varitek, speaking for the first time since the team's collapse and subsequent turmoil, said this afternoon that reports of friction within the clubhouse were "grossly exaggerated."
In an exclusive interview at his home, Varitek said the Red Sox missed the playoff because of poor performances on the field, not a lack of effort or poor chemistry.
"It's embarrassing professionally that we collapsed the way we did. But it wasn't because we stopped trying or stopped caring about each other. This team was just fine until the end," he said. "We tried everything we could to stop it.
"Every team has its squabbles over the course of the season. But this team got along just fine and I never had a sense that we weren't on the same page."
The 39-year-old catcher also made it clear that he wants to play in 2012 and hopes it will be with the Red Sox.
"I'm a free agent, that's out of my hands," he said. "But I've bled in this uniform for a long time and I want to continue that. Hopefully that will be the case."
You can read more here.
Wednesday, October 19th:
Jason will be a guest on WAAF's Hill-Man Morning Show at 8:00 a.m.
*Thank you to Catherine P. and Kimberly C. for the heads-up!
Just In Case You Missed It...
October 17, 2011
Curt Schilling was a guest on the Sports Hub's Felger & Massarotti Show today and among other things Red Sox, had this to say about the team captain:
"Jason was never that guy that stood up in the clubhouse and held team meetings," Schilling said. "I always looked at Jason a lot like I looked at Cal Ripken from a captain's perspective. Cal was a captain. He didn't have team meetings. He expected you to play the way he played, prepare the way he prepared and respect the game the way he did that."
He also said that Jason shouldn't be the one calling team meetings and getting in players faces, but rather that those players should be able to motivate themselves.
"We're not talking about high school, recess or playground," Schilling said. "These are grown men. You're making $10-15 million dollars a year. You're job is to win games."
You can listen to Curt's full interview here.
And from Curt's guest appearance on the Mut and Merloni Show:
"Jason Varitek is not a vocal leader, has never been a vocal leader. Jason is not a guy that will stand up on a day-to-day basis and have team meetings. He will have them. He will say things. He is not comfortable, has never been comfortable, being that guy. Jason is a guy that wants you to see how he does things, how he plays the game and he wants you to mimic and follow that. His leadership method is much more physical than it is verbal.
“He’ll say to someone, ‘Hey, listen, we need to have a meeting and can you address this and can you talk to guys about this.’ I’ve been involved in that process. He will stand up and talk every now and then, but he’s never been a guy who’s comfortable standing up in front of groups of people. In his mind it’s a one-on-one with someone because you never want to embarrass one of your teammates. He did a lot of his work behind the scenes. Him standing up and having a clubhouse meeting, that’s not who Jason is for me. Jason is a guy who leads by example.”
You can read more from Curt Schilling's interview here.
Pedroia on Tek: "The best"
October 13, 2011
From Dustin's interview on WEEI this morning over the tabloid-style article that appeared in yesterday's Boston Globe.
His reaction to the article on Red Sox clubhouse dysfunction -
“I’m pretty upset about it. A lot of the stuff that was said was pretty much not fair. It hurts, man. It’s not good.”
Did it drag the clubhouse down to have a couple people who weren’t self-motivated?
"No, not really. We try out hardest as players to police each other. [Jason Varitek] is the best. From what I’ve read he’s taken some shots about being the captain and how he wasn’t being a leader. That’s false. Tek’s in there. He says things to me. He says things to everybody. He’ll say things to Jacoby to make him a better player, to everybody. The leadership, I know 7-20 in September looks bad and everybody can say the lack of leadership, but that’s not true. We all wanted to win. We were all headed in the right direction. We didn’t. That’s basically it. They outplayed us in the end. Teams beat us that shouldn’t have beat us and that’s it. There’s nothing more to it.”
Is your leadership style to lead by example?
“Everyone’s different. We have a lot of leaders on our team. That’s the thing, when I read, that kind of gets to me. Tek’s the type that leads by example but when you get out of line he’s going to say a couple of things to you and there’s no questions asked and there’s no barking back, you do it. That’s how Tek runs his ship and it’s very effective. He’s pretty scary. You guys all see him.
You can read more from Dustin's interview here.
Manager Tek?, Part II
October 11, 2011
From the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham today:
We asked the question yesterday whether the Red Sox should keep Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield next season.
Nearly 13,000 readers voted in the poll. A few dozen of them also e-mailed to suggest that the Red Sox hire Varitek as their manager and retain Wakefield as a coach.
I understand that sentiment. Wakefield and Varitek have been with the team for a long time and have handled themselves with professionalism throughout. But the odds of them staying on as the manager or a coach are very slim....
To find out why, read the rest here.
October 1, 2011
NESN's Tony Lee gives his managerial suggestions after the sad departure of the beloved Terry Francona yesterday...and one name is quite familiar:
Jason Varitek: Heck, why not? Epstein said Friday that having managerial experience at the major league level is not necessary.
That probably doesn't extend to having no managerial experience whatsoever, but Varitek has been discussed for years as a potential coach or manager.
This is an extreme long shot, but if the captain's playing days are done he may set his sights on running a clubhouse one day, and he knows this one as well as anyone.
You can read Mr. Lee's full list of managers here.
Catching The Injury Bug!
September 27, 2011
From ESPN's Joe McDonald this afternoon:
The top two Red Sox catchers Jason Varitek (knee) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (collarbone) are out of the lineup due to injuries, meaning Ryan Lavarnway will be behind the plate tonight and working with starter Erik Bedard in the team's biggest game of the season.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona has also tweaked his lineup a bit, with third baseman Jed Lowrie hitting in the cleanup spotand left fielder Carl Crawford back in the eighth spot. Crawford went a combined 3 for 20 in the last four games in the No. 2 hole.
You can read more here.
You can read more about the extent of Jason and Salty's injuries here.
14 Innings: Red Sox 7, Yankees 4
September 26, 2011
From Peter Abraham, Boston Globe early this morning:
The postgame scene was something to see. Theo Epstein stood at the entrance to the clubhouse high-fiving players. Terry Francona was drinking what looked like the most satisfying beer of his life. The rookies were dressing in drag for the annual hazing.
"That was a fun game to be a part of. Obviously the outcome makes it that way," manager Terry Francona said after the 7-4, 14-inning victory. "Nobody gave in."
The hero was Jacoby Ellsbury, whose three-run rocket off Scott Proctor was the difference All he did today was hit three home runs and drive in five runs. Ellsbury is hitting .322 with 117 runs, 208 hits (81 for extra-bases), 103 RBIs and 38 steals.
"Fortunately he threw me something over the plate and I was able to drive it," said Ellsbury. "In that situation, I’m looking for something I can drive."
Jason Varitek was limping around, saying he wasn't sure whether he could catch Josh Beckett on Monday after getting hit with a pitch in is right knee.
You can read more from Mr. Abraham's post-game report here.
From ESPN on the injury front and tonight's game:
Catcher Jason Varitek, who was hit by a pitch by Yankee starter Ivan Nova in the right knee in Sunday night’s game and came out two innings later, is questionable for Monday night’s game against the Orioles.
Francona said he wasn't sure if Varitek would be a go Monday. "He got hit pretty hard," Francona said. "He's sore. We'll see how he bounces back. We'll see how he’s doing."
You can read more here.
Video of Jason's RBI single to break the tie from YES Network here (Yes, the YES Network!).
Tek: "Nobody's going to hand us any wins"
September 22, 2011
From the AP's Howard Ulman via The Boston Globe this afternoon:
The freefall began on Sept. 4 when the Red Sox began play with a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card race -- more like a runaway at the time -- and just a half-game deficit in the AL East standings behind the New York Yankees.
Since then, they are 4-14.
It would have been worse if the Rays hadn't lost a doubleheader to the Yankees while the Red Sox were falling to Baltimore 6-4. They got a break from the misery on a Thursday with a day off while the Rays and Angels played. That will leave each of the contenders with six games remaining.
"Nobody's going to lay down for us. Nobody's going to hand us any wins," captain and catcher Jason Varitek said. "We've got to go out there and get it on our own."
A few wins over the Yankees should quiet comparisons to the New York Mets' collapse of 2007 when they missed the playoffs, squandering a seven-game lead by going 5-12 in their last 17 games.
"We have to take care of ourselves and then from there we'll worry about what happens," Varitek said, "but we control what we do by playing good baseball."
You can read more here.
A Broken Bat Worth Keeping
September 20, 2011
From the Kansas City Royals website this evening:
Royals outfielder Mitch Maier had a new framed display sitting by his locker in the clubhouse on Tuesday, commemorating his Major League pitching debut back on July 26th against the Red Sox.
Maier pitched the eighth inning of that 13-9 loss, and he was the only one out of five pitchers Kansas City used that night to not allow a run.
The display featured a ball from the game, a photo of Maier on the mound, two ticket stubs, the lineup card from the game, as well as a broken bat.
The bat was courtesy of Boston catcher Jason Varitek. Maier broke Varitek's bat with a pitch, resulting in the final out of the inning. Varitek signed the bat, adding the words, "nice saw job."
Asked if he hopes he never pitches in another game, Maier answered with one word: "Absolutely."
Don't remember this game? You can read about it here.
Red Sox 18, Orioles 9
September 19, 2011
"It was a well-needed win. " -- Jason, during his post-game comments.
From The Sports Network:
Conor Jackson hit a grand slam and Jacoby Ellsbury added an inside-the-park homer as part of a seven-run seventh-inning, as the Red Sox downed the Orioles, 18-9, to salvage a split of a doubleheader.
Dustin Pedroia also knocked in four runs for the Red Sox, who lead the idle Rays by two games in the AL wild card race. They sit five games behind the AL East-leading Yankees, who defeated the Twins on Monday.
With the Red Sox up 11-9, Ellsbury began the home seventh with a fly ball which caromed off the triangle at the deepest part of the park in right-center and rolled along the base of the wall. He crossed the plate standing up.
Earlier, the gathering storm that has marked Boston's September swoon appeared even cloudier after a three-run Orioles first.
In the bottom half, Ellsbury scored on a Pedroia groundout and Lowrie followed Ortiz's double with a three-run, go-ahead homer to whip the Fenway faithful into a frenzy.
The momentum carried over to the second. Scutaro doubled home Varitek and Matusz was relieved by Chris Jakubauskas after an intentional walk to Gonzalez. Pedroia followed with an RBI single to give the Red Sox a 6-3 lead.
With two down in the top of the third, Lackey struck out Guerrero, but the ball got past Varitek, and the designated hitter reached first to extend the inning. A Davis single and an Andino walk loaded the bases before Reimold's two-run single made it a 6-5 game.
But the Red Sox rallied with a five-run bottom half, exhibiting a measure of moxie that has been lacking in recent weeks.
You can read a full game recap here.
"Varitek the captain finds his way late in career"
September 14, 2011
"It used to be push-push-push, grind-grind-grind, all of the time. Now I'm starting to appreciate different things." -- Jason, from the interview.
An article/interview from USA Today writer Bob Nightengale:
While the Red Sox have lost eight of their past 10 games, the Rays have won eight in the same period, cutting Boston's wild-card lead to 3½ games. Facing Tampa Bay in a vital four-game series beginning today at Fenway Park, the Red Sox will again turn to team captain and long-time catcher Jason Varitek for guidance.
"He's the guy we always look to," second baseman Dustin Pedroia says. "He's our leader. He's the guy we lean on. If he's calm, we're calm."
Varitek, the captain since 2004, isn't about to lose his cool now. In the old days, back when he was the everyday catcher, he might be stressed out and busy studying video and poring over scouting reports at Fenway Park early each day.
Instead, Varitek spent Monday's off day with his fiancée, Catherine Panagiotopoulos, in Key West, Fla. They relaxed on the beach, grabbed some grub and finalized wedding plans.
You can read the rest here.
Tim's 200th and Tek's Collision...
September 14, 2011
Tim Wakefield celebrated his 200th career win last night!
After the game, the Red Sox celebrated with champagne in the clubhouse, while in the stands, fans weren't willing to leave until Wakefield appeared.
Tim Wakefield wondered if it would ever happen. He was stuck on 199 wins for so long, would No. 200 ever come?
"Yeah, it did cross my mind after six or seven starts," Wakefield, 45, said. "I kept telling myself that the milestone doesn't determine me as a person."
You can see photos of Tim being congratulated by his good friend Jason here.
Collision at the plate!
In the sixth inning of today's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Brett Lawrie tried to score on a fielder's choice hit by Adam Loewen. But he ran into Jason...and lost! Dustin Pedroia got the ball to Jason in time and he was able to not only put the tag on Lawrie but somehow hold on to the ball after a nasty collision at home plate.
"You don't win those battles in my position," Jason said. "Thankfully, Pedey gave a good throw and allowed me to stay in there and absorb the hit."
You can see amazing video of the play and the collision here.
You can read more from Jason here.
September 11, 2011 - 10 years ago today
From Tim Britton, the Providence Journal today:
For the Red Sox, like anyone else, the memories of Sept. 11 remain as clear and formidable 10 years later as they were that fateful Tuesday morning. For the 10th anniversary of that defining day, we interviewed those with Red Sox connections to hear their stories of where they were, what they were doing and what they remember most.
Jason Varitek, Framingham, MA -
"I was at rehab early in the morning. We stopped what we were doing. They were working with me and working on my elbow, and it was just ‘Go home. Go be with your family.’ I just immediately went home from rehab. I stopped and left."
Mr. Britton also interviewed Tim Wakefield, Mike Aviles, Rich Hill, Andrew Miller, Ryan Lavarnway, Dave Magadan, Dan Wheeler, Daniel Bard and John Farrell.
You can read their stories here.
Buck Martinez on Tek: "I watched him prepare with our pitchers that he didn’t know. It was phenomenal"
September 8, 2011
Interview with Buck Martinez, from the Providence Journal's Tim Britton:
Buck Martinez was a big-league catcher for 17 seasons with the Royals, Brewers and Blue Jays. A one-time manager in Toronto and current Blue Jays broadcaster, Martinez has marveled from afar at the progress Saltalamacchia has made since the beginning of the season.
"This is a very well-prepared and very veteran staff. They have high expectations on their catchers because Tek set a high standard. Jarrod’s been able to move into that role and gain the confidence of his staff."
Martinez’s own experience in that veteran role has given him a renewed appreciation for what Varitek has been able to do for the Red Sox.
"I know it’s helped Jarrod just to be around Jason, to be around Jason when he’s preparing, just to see what goes into his thought process of putting a game plan together," said Martinez. "It’s beneficial to both of them, and obviously they’re getting a lot of production out of both of them. I think Jarrod understands now a lot more about catching than he did before he came to Boston."
As manager of the 2006 United States team in the World Baseball Classic, Martinez got to work first-hand with Varitek. Martinez couldn’t help but come away impressed, then, with what he saw from Varitek that spring.
"I watched him prepare with our pitchers that he didn’t know. It was phenomenal," he said. "The work he puts into it, he remembers so many things about guys at the plate. And of course when he’s working with his staff, he can basically think of what they’re thinking before they even think about it."
You can read the rest here.
And The Award Goes To...
September 7, 2011
From ESPN.com today:
Next Level Player of the Week - Jason Varitek
Varitek had a key two-run home run in the eighth inning to give the Red Sox some insurance in their 9-5 win over the Yankees on Wednesday. The blast came on a Luis Ayala fastball on the first pitch of the at-bat. This season, Varitek is 14-for-25 (.560) with four home runs and 11 RBIs on first pitches of at-bats.
You can see the runners-up here.
Jason: "I want to keep playing"
September 2, 2011
From CBS Boston today:
Red Sox Catcher and Captain, Jason Varitek, joined Zo and Sean McAdam to discuss the Sox.
What does Varitek think of the “marathon games” that the Sox and Yankees get themselves into?
Does Varitek believe John Lackey has turned it around lately? Has Josh Beckett’s slower pace affected the team?
And, how is the captain feeling physically after sharing the load with Jarrod Saltalamacchia?
You can listen to his interview here.
"Saltalamacchia, Varitek have made a major weakness a major strength"
From the Eagle-Tribune's Christopher Smith:
Combine Jarrod Saltalamacchia's and Jason Varitek's offensive stats this year and what do you get?
You get one mighty impressive year: 23 homers, 78 RBIs, 73 runs.
"Salty" and "Tek" are a team. There is no competition between them, they say. They both like each other and root for each other. They work together every day and are all about team first.
"The better he does, the better we do," Varitek said. "He's done extremely well. He's better now than he was in spring training. He's better now than he was a year ago and that's what you want to continue to do as a player. ... And he's my friend along with being my teammate."
You can read the rest here.
Four Years Ago Today...
September 1, 2011
"Back there, when he calls the game, you can see him thinking ...'What pitch do you want to throw?' and you don't come across guys that often that make the game easier while they are playing. He is just a great tribute to what happened tonight, and I am glad to say that I got to throw to Jason Varitek." " -- Clay Buchholz on Jason Varitek, after the No-Hitter against the Baltimore Orioles, September 1, 2007.
From MLB.com, September 2, 2007:
Even in the afterglow of making history as the first rookie Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter Saturday, Clay Buchholz made sure to credit someone who has seen this type of thing before.
"[He had] just an incredible role," Buchholz said of his catcher, Red Sox captain Jason Varitek. "The way he breaks down each hitter and the way that we go over them before the game, it's unlike anything that I have ever seen before, how much pride and passion he takes in everything that he does."
Varitek has caught each of the club's last three no-hitters, the only such active catcher in the game to accomplish that feat. Varitek was also behind the plate for Derek Lowe's gem on April 27, 2002, also a 10-0 Red Sox rout, and April 4, 2001, when Hideo Nomo turned the trick, also against the Orioles.
Varitek is fond of saying, "I just drop the fingers, they [pitchers] are the ones who have to make the pitches." Saturday night was no different.
"[Buchholz] did an excellent job," Varitek said. "He established his fastball early and took awhile before they got a look at his other stuff and stayed aggressive. He did a phenomenal job. The bullpen needed it after [Friday] and just, it was great."
Red Sox manager Terry Francona has always known what the captain has meant to his pitching staff's preparation.
"I know Clay's name will be in the record books," Francona said. "I hope Jason's right under it, because he deserves it. They were huddled in front of his locker [before the game]. Jason puts a lot into it, a lot of care."
You can read the rest here.
September 1, 2011
Final Score: Yankees 5, Red Sox 9
"You go in waves. I had, for a little stint there, hit a wall. You can't control that. You still have to do your other job. Everybody does. How that's going to work out -- still, Salty's going to play the majority of the time. I'm just going to fill in when needed." -- Jason, during his post-game comments last night.
From Evan Drellich, MLB.com this morning:
Before Wednesday's 9-5 Red Sox win over the Yankees, the distinction belonged to another famed Red Sox catcher, albeit one who accomplished the feat in a different uniform.
Jason Varitek's 10th home run of the season, a two-run insurance shot in the eighth inning, put him in an exclusive club with Carlton Fisk. They're the only backstops in Major League history to reach double-digit homers in a season at age 39 or older.
"I don't know -- I mean, it's great," Varitek said when asked if he felt a personal accomplishment by notching double digits for the 11th time in his 15 seasons. "We've still got a month left. It is good -- it just helps lengthen our lineup."
When looking at the Sox's catching combo together, there's more history to be found. Varitek's output, combined with Jarrod Saltalamacchia's career-high total of 13 homers, gives Boston a pair of catchers with at least 10 long balls for the first time in nearly a half-century. The last two to do it were Bob Tillman (14) and Jim Pagliaroni (11) in 1962.
You can read more and see video highlights here.
From Mike Petraglia, WEEI:
Captain Jason Varitek is proving to be somewhat of an ageless wonder for the Red Sox. And certainly, he among the most trusted on the team. Just ask Josh Beckett, Jarrod Saltalamacchia or the manager Terry Francona.
He proved to be both ageless and trusted on Wednesday night as he came up with a key double on a hit-and-run play to tie the game after the Yankees had the momentum with a four-run sixth. His execution of that play in the bottom of the sixth with Josh Reddick at first base – called for by Francona – was a great example of what Varitek is all about.
Just get the job done.
You can read more here.
From Gordon Edes, ESPN:
Jason Varitek, David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon will make it hard to imagine life without them -- should it come to that.
Beckett became the first Sox pitcher since Al Nipper in 1987 to beat the Bombers four times in a season.
Varitek did his part for his batterymate with a game-tying, check-swing double down the left-field line just before Ellsbury unloaded and then deposited his 10th home run of the season in the Sox bullpen for the final spread.
You can read more here.
And a little humor this morning from NESN...
"Jason Varitek Wins NESN Nation's 'All Class, No Clap' Player of Game Award":
A night after Francisco Cervelli drew attention for the wrong reasons, Jason Varitek was in full classy mode while he doubled, homered and drove in three runs to guarantee the Red Sox first place in the AL East for a little while longer.
The Captain's excuse-me double in the sixth inning tied the game and his monster of a home run in the eighth sealed the deal as the Red Sox out-slugged the Yankees 9-5.
You can read more and take NESN's poll here.
You can see a few photos from the game here.
Jason and the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon
August 31, 2011
Jason took a few minutes yesterday to lend his support to the Radio-Telethon for the Jimmy Fund.
The interview was aired LIVE on WEEI's Big Show before last night's game.
If you missed the interview...
You can listen to it here.
You can check out some great photos in WEEI's gallery here.
You can also see more photos on the Jimmy Fund's Facebook page here.
Want to make a pledge to this wonderful cause? You can do that here!
Check out these photos from the 2011 Beckett Bowl held Monday night!
Tek IN The News Today!
August 28, 2011 - Power back on in VA!
From Kevin McNamara, Providence Journal - "Varitek isn't acting his age":
After a long, wet, sloppy day of baseball Saturday, Jason Varitek appeared before the Boston baseball media and was asked how his 39-year-old body is holding up this season.
"You're asking me after a six-hour game? Terrible," the Red Sox catcher said with a smile.
At 39 years and 138 days old, he’s the oldest Red Sox to hit a home run since Ellis Burks in 2004. Elston Howard (in 1968) is the only other Red Sox catcher to hit a home run after his 39th birthday.
"I feel good," said Varitek. "There's been different spikes at different times. The thing is in our position [as a catcher], we have to be ready. We go out and if something happens we have to be ready in the games."
You can read the rest here.
From Ron Chimelis, The Republican - "This year, Red Sox veteran Jason Varitek looks good to go the distance":
He has looked like a new man this season, when in fact he has been the same old Jason Varitek, a catcher and captain the Red Sox can count on.
Overall, though, Varitek says he feels good about himself physically, and about his team. Any 39-year-old catcher who can say that has to be doing something right.
Varitek is hitting .234, his highest average since a .255 season in 2007. His revival began last year, when he had a solid start but went on the disabled list for a broken foot in early July.
This year, Varitek looks good to go the distance. He needs one more homer to reach double digits, but he said his goals have never been personal.
"I have team goals. I always have," he said. "The basic goal is the day-to-day grind, and to win on that (particular) day."
You can read the rest here.
From Steve Buckley, Boston Herald - "High 'Tek support for Red Sox":
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who now does most of the catching, has 13 home runs. When Varitek hits his next home run, it will mark the first time since 1962 that two Sox catchers have hit 10 or more home runs in a season.
It happened with Bob Tillman (14 home runs) and Jim Pagliaroni (11) in 1962, but not since. (Yes, Scott Hatteberg hit 10 home runs in 1997 and Mike Stanley had 13 home runs, but Stanley was mostly a first baseman/DH by that point, and, in fact, started only nine games behind the plate. The real backup catcher for the '97 Red Sox was Bill Haselman. And while Stanley returned to the Sox in 2000 and hit 10 home runs, he wasn’t catching at all by then. So let's not quibble.)
True, hitting home runs shouldn't be the sole factor in determining a backup catcher’s value to a team. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a No. 2 catcher who can add some thump to the lineup. And when one takes into consideration that Varitek’s game-calling skills are as good as ever, what emerges, then, is an uber backup catcher — good behind the dish, and by no means an easy out, even if Tek no longer hits for a high average.
You can read the rest here.
You can watch video of Jason's post-game comments here.
You can see a few game photos here.
Jason Says "Good Afternoon Irene"!
August 27, 2011
Final Score: Red Sox 9, Athletics 3
The Captain drove in three runs and David Ortiz doubled twice this afternoon, sending Boston to a 9-3 win over Oakland in Game 1 of a scheduled doubleheader.
Jason hit a two-run home run, his ninth homer of the season, into the Sox bullpen in the second.
The games was delayed twice for a total of three hours by heavy rain associated with the approaching Hurricane Irene.
Mike Aviles contributed three hits and two runs scored as the Red Sox won for the fourth time in five games.
Jon Lester (14-6) earned the win with a six-inning effort, yielding two runs (one earned) on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
You can watch video from NESN.com here.
You can see a couple of photos here.
The wind and rain is picking up here in Northern Virginia...and my lights are flickering so I'm gone! Stay safe New England!
Lester's Pitching & Tek's Triple Help Put Sox in the Win Column
August 21, 2011
Jon Lester curbed the Kansas City Royals on three hits for six-plus innings and Jason Varitek tripled for the first time in more than four years as the Boston Red Sox won 6-1 on Sunday.
Carl Crawford and Darnell McDonald hit solo home runs for the Red Sox.
Varitek's two-out triple rolled to the right-center fence, allowing Jed Lowrie to score in the fifth to break a scoreless deadlock. Lowrie led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a Crawford ground out.
Lester (13-7) has allowed two runs and six hits in 13 innings in his past two starts to beat Kansas City and Tampa Bay. He is 5-1 with a 1.30 ERA in seven career starts against the Royals.
You can read more here.
If you missed Jason's triple, you can watch it here.
You can watch Jason's post-game interview here.
You can see a few photos from the game here.
Tek's last triple was June 24, 2007 against Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. In the eighth inning of that game Jason came up big again hitting his eighth home run of the season off Scott Linebrink. It was Jason's 14th career triple and also just happened to be his 1,300th career hit!
Jason: Fond Memories Of The Little League World Series
August 20, 2011
"You weren't quite as aware that that magic existed then as you are now. Because of the heightened media attention, etc...We learned as we went along, so to speak."-- Jason
From John Tomase, Boston Herald this morning:
The Little League World Series is in full swing, which brings back fond memories for Jason Varitek.
"It was awesome," Varitek said before last night's 7-1 win over the Royals. It's changed a lot since then. They have the two fields instead of one. Every game's on TV now instead of just the finals. Every game in the regionals is on TV. It's just a different level of attention."
Altamonte Springs didn't lose a game until the finals. The journey started in the district round against a team from Deland, Fla., that featured a talented right-handed hitter named Larry "Chipper" Jones, who went on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 draft and still is completing a Hall of Fame career with the Atlanta Braves.
"We beat Chipper's team in extra innings," Varitek said. "He wasn't switch-hitting yet. Neither was I. I followed him from then on. From there forward, he was Chipper Jones."
You can read the rest of the interview here.
*More on Jason's Little League days can be found below, under the first of the August 18th posts.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3
August 18, 2011
From NBC Sports:
Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs with a pair of well-timed singles, Josh Beckett survived a shaky start to go seven innings and the Boston Red Sox got back on the winning track with a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
Jason Varitek drove in the other run for the Red Sox, who had lost five of their last seven games after getting shut out by the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
Beckett (10-5) and the Royals proved to be the perfect matchup to turn things around. The right-hander allowed all three runs in the first three innings to improve to 7-1 in his career against them — his only loss came July 28 in Boston. Beckett also reached the 10-win plateau after failing in his four previous attempts.
You can read more here.
You can see a couple of game photos here.
You have to check out...
Jason's latest commercial for Jaffarian Automotive!!
*Thank you to Catherine!
Little League to the Big Leagues
August 18, 2011
With the 2011 Little League World Series in full swing, I thought we'd take a look back at another Little Leaguer...
From a 2008 article at LittleLeague.org:
From Little League to the Major Leagues, leadership and clutch performances have driven the baseball career of Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek.
In a recent game against the American League Eastern Division-leading Tampa Bay Rays, Mr. Varitek, who at age 12 played a key role in Altamonte Springs (Fla.) National Little League’s run to the 1984 Little League Baseball World Series United States Championship, delivered a two-run home run into the upper deck at Tropicana Field for his 158th career homer.
Mr. Varitek is one of two players to play in the Little League Baseball World Series, College World Series and Major League Baseball World Series. The other is pitcher Ed Vosberg.
You can read the rest here.
From a 2004 article at Little League Online:
For the first time in Major League Baseball World Series history, Little League Baseball World Series participants faced each other as pitcher and batter in the Fall Classic that ended tonight when the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0, ending a four-game sweep.
Jason Varitek is the All-Star catcher for the Boston Red Sox, and was a key player in the team’s first World Series title since 1918. He played for Altamonte Springs National Little League of Altamonte Springs, Fla., in the 1984 Little League Baseball World Series, leading his team to the U.S. championship. Ironically, during his Little League regular season at Altamonte Springs, Jason played for the Cardinals.
The Altamonte Springs team lost 6-2 in the world championship game against a team from South Korea. Jason played shortstop, catcher and third base in his three Little League Baseball World Series games, going hitless in seven at-bats, with two walks and a run scored.
Faceing Jason Varitek in two of the games was St. Louis pitcher Jason Marquis, who played for South Shore Little League of Staten Island, N.Y., in the 1991 Little League Baseball World Series, helping his team to a third-place finish. Mr. Marquis pitched two complete-game shutouts in the Little League Baseball World Series for the U.S. East team, defeating the U.S. Central team (Hamilton, Ohio) 8-0, and the Canada team (Glace Bay, Nova Scotia) 16-0. The win against Canada was a no-hitter in which Jason struck out 10 and allowed only three runners via walks. At the plate, he had eight hits in 12 at-bats over three games.
You can read the rest here.
You can see larger versions of the photos here.
Red Sox 4, Twins 3
August 10, 2011
From WEEI this morning:
It was a backwards sort of night for the Red Sox offense. The team reached base more times through walks (8) than with hits (6). Yet for much of the night, the Sox could not take advantage of Minnesota’s command struggles, in part because the top seven hitters in the lineup were a combined 3-for-21.
Yet the Sox were nonetheless propelled to a 4-3 victory over the Twins by an unlikely duo that did the entirety of the damage against Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano. Darnell McDonald blasted a two-run homer as part of a 2-for-3 night, while Jason Varitek walked in front of one of McDonald’s homer and later delivered a run-scoring single of his own.
Their performances helped to improve the Sox — a team that was expected to struggle against southpaws because of its left-leaning lineup — to 27-12 this year in games started by an opposing left-hander.
You can read more here.
You can watch Jason's post-game interview here.
You can see the latest game photos here.
Sox Win IN 10, Take Series From Yankees
August 8, 2011
"I think it's about winning games. We can't help the fact of when we score runs and when we don't. And I'm sure there's probably going to be a time where we put up a 15 spot for him when he's going to give up 8. So it'll even out. It usually does." -- Jason talking about Josh Beckett's no-decision in last night's win.
Final Score: Red Sox 3, Yankees 2
From Maureen Mullen at NECN this morning:
Josh Beckett has dominated New York this season.
Entering Sunday night’s series finale against the Yankees at Fenway Park, he was 3-0 with a miniscule 0.86 ERA – well below his season ERA of and already low 2.20 -- in three starts against them, allowing just two earned runs over 21 innings.
With first place in the American League East up for grabs -- along with the series win and a season series clincher -- Beckett was just the pitcher the Red Sox wanted on the mound. But Beckett had been out of the game for four innings by the time the Sox got their eighth walk-off win of the season in the 10th inning, on Josh Reddick’s one-out single to score pinch-runner Darnell McDonald, for a 3-2 win.
Beckett went six innings, giving up one run on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts. The lone run he allowed was to No. 9 hitter Eduardo Nunez, a two-out home run into the base of the light tower above the Green Monster in the fifth inning.
"He threw the ball well," said catcher Jason Varitek. "He made half of a mistake to Nunez, that really wasn't. A pretty good job of hitting. It might have been up a tiny bit. He had to make some pitches. He had to work hard, which you have to do with that lineup."
You can read more from Ms. Mullen here.
You can see the latest game photos here.
Tek talks Beckett
August 7, 2011
From an article on Josh Beckett's 2011 season at The Boston Globe this morning:
Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek - who has caught Beckett more than anyone else in the pitcher's career - agreed that Beckett's change in performance this year started with his improved health.
"He wasn't the same pitcher last season and it was a constant battle," Varitek said. "This year, he's been able to throw all of his pitches for strikes and finish them off.
"Whether it's the Yankees or anybody else, he has a plan and he sticks to it. The Yankees have such a deep lineup, you have to go batter by batter and he does that. Josh is prepared when he goes out there."
Tonight, he’ll go up against Yankees righthander Freddy Garcia (10-7, 3.22 ERA) in the deciding game of this weekend’s three-game series. The winner will sit alone atop the American League East.
You can read the full article here.
Two-Run Blast For The Cap'n, Series Win For The Red Sox
July 31, 2011
From WEEI this afternoon:
The Red Sox did not allow the looming trade deadline to distract them from the field. Instead, the team claimed the rubber match against the White Sox by a 5-3 margin, narrowly emerging with a winning (2-1) record on the three-game roadtrip. It marks the seventh straight roadtrip from which the Sox have emerged with a winning record.
The Sox now have a 33-21 record (.611) away from Fenway that ranks as the best road mark in the majors.
The Sox put the final touches on a 20-6 month, a .769 winning percentage that ranks as the best in franchise history for the month. It was also the team’s first 20-win month since May 2007.
Jason Varitek crushed a two-run homer to left-center against Mark Buehrle in the top of the second inning, his second straight plate appearance with a homer against a lefty following a roundtripper against Royals rookie Tim Collins last week. Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have now combined for 16 homers (second most of any team in the AL) and 56 RBI (tops in the AL).
You can see the latest photos here.
Looking back: MLB Trade Deadline
July 30, 2011
Good trades for some teams, bad trades for others!
The most important thing to know about baseball trades made in July is that most of them do not amount to much. Few of the stars traded to contenders will be the difference between winning and losing, and few of the young prospects traded for stars will become stars.
And although most of these deadline deals are ultimately good for all parties — contrary to popular opinion, baseball executives are generally intelligent — there have been a few notably disastrous deadline trades over the years.
The most famous — or infamous, if you are a Cubs fan with a good memory — deadline deal is known simply as Brock for Broglio: Chicago Cubs outfielder Lou Brock for St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ernie Broglio.
Brock powered the Cardinals to the National League pennant and a World Series victory over the Yankees, on his way to the Hall of Fame. Broglio, who had been a star four years earlier and had won 18 games in 1963, won seven games in his two-plus seasons with the Cubs before retiring.
Thirty-three years later, the Seattle Mariners made the same sort of mistake when they sent two young players — catcher Jason Varitek and pitcher Derek Lowe — to the Red Sox for the reliever Heathcliff Slocumb. At the time, Slocumb had a 5.79 earned run average, but Seattle’s management was apparently more impressed with his previous seasons of good (but not great) work as a closer. He did improve upon joining the Mariners, only to struggle badly in 1998 before leaving as a free agent. Lowe developed into an outstanding pitcher with the Red Sox, and Varitek ultimately became the team captain and, 14 years after the trade, still toils for Boston.
You can read more here.
July 27, 2011
I have added several photos from the collection of Nancy Nutile-McMenemy who was in attendance (with camera in hand, of course) at the Jason Varitek Celebrity Putt Putt Tournament last week.
I also have two delightful photos from Jennifer Gohra in the same album.
You can see their photos here.
You can check out Jason's interview here.
Dori Burke and Deb Latsch snapped a few photos of Tek from his autograph signing that took place on Saturday inside the New England Picture Company store at South Shore Plaza in Braintree.
You can see their photos here.
Thank you so much ladies!!
July 21, 2011
From the New England Picture Company:
Jason's public autograph signing will take place inside the New England Picture Company store at South Shore Plaza on July 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
South Shore Plaza is located at 250 Granite Street in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Again, the price for an autographed photo or baseball is $79. To have a baseball cap, a piece of equipment, a bat or a jersey signed is $99. Inscriptions (3 to 4 words) on an item is $20.
Eric Slichko, from NEP wants to alert fans that Jason will not sign photos of the "A-Rod fight" nor will he inscribe any item with the term "Captain".
- Tickets can also be purchased online through Sure Shot Promotions here (see June 7th news below).
Note to fans:
I will not be able to post updates from the Putt Putt Tournament nor the Autograph Signing event this weekend. I will be otherwise occupied.
But, please check back early next week for photos from both!
Tek - Plenty of Ice and Exercise
July 19, 2011
From NESN today:
Fifteen years, more than 100 games per year, over 100 pitches a game and countless work on the side. Do the math and you have an idea as to how many times Jason Varitek has put strain on his knees squatting behind home plate.
Even on days when he is the backup, Varitek still warms up some pitchers in the bullpen, works with others on their side sessions and has various other drills that have him lifting and lowering his big frame on those overworked knees. Those days, just like the others when he catches all nine, prompt a full ice-wrap on both knees after the game.
"It's like throwing a baseball overhand," Varitek said. "Through the course of time you're not anatomically made to do that so you shouldn't probably be squatting all the time."
Still, it's all the work Varitek has done before, during and after games that has kept his knees in pretty solid shape over the years, considering the perils of the position.
"You've got to do exercises. You’ve got to do stuff, it’s not just ice," he said. "We stretch. We do our work in the weight room. Knee-specific exercises."
You can read the rest here.
After Catching 16 Innings: "I feel like a spring chicken"
July 18, 2011
From The Boston Herald today:
Playing a 16-inning game that takes 5 hours and 44 minutes to complete is a tiring enough endeavor. Now, imagine being a 39-year-old catcher who must squat behind the plate and handle 210 pitches in a game that remained scoreless until the last inning.
"I feel like a spring chicken," Jason Varitek said.
When it was over, and the Red Sox finally had defeated the Rays by a 1-0 margin, there were kudos all around for Varitek.
"For me, he's right up there with the Muddy Chicken," Josh Beckett said, referring to his new nickname for Dustin Pedroia. "Just because when you think about — and I hate to throw him under the bus because he’s in such good shape — a guy his age, doing what he does for 16 innings, he's back there throwing down the right fingers. He's awesome. He really is."
You can read more here.
From ESPN.com today:
As Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek entered the visitors' clubhouse following the team's 1-0 victory in 16 innings over the Tampa Bay Rays early Monday morning, Red Sox staffer Rob Leary was standing at the door to greet him.
"Outstanding job," Leary, a former catcher, told Varitek.
Varitek, 39, played the entire game, and it was obvious he was sore afterward. In fact, he always sits in a chair when talking with the media after a game, but that wasn’t happening this time.
"I'm just not going to sit down," he said with a smile. "I'm scared to sit down."
"We might have to carry him on the plane," manager Terry Francona said. "He's going to feel this one."
This game featured just about everything. It featured outstanding pitching performances by both teams. Each club made outstanding defensive plays time and again. When it was over, Varitek limped off the field after receiving a total of 210 pitches thrown by Red Sox pitchers.
You can read more here.
"Young pitchers find a mentor in Varitek"
July 15, 2011
From the Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson this evening:
Pawtucket pitcher Brandon Duckworth didn't make out the Red Sox lineup card the day Kyle Weiland made his major-league debut last Sunday. That's the job of Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
But Duckworth knew a day in advance just who was going to be behind the plate for Weiland: Jason Varitek.
"I'm sure they'll have Varitek catch him," Duckworth said, "so he doesn't have to sit there and try to think. It's a lot different up there in certain regards because now you've got to learn hitters, and that’s tough for some guys like myself where, if you come into here and you don’t know guys, you’re used to pitching with scouting reports and from having faced guys a lot. You’re like, 'Oh, I remember this. This is how I worked this guy.'
"Now (Weiland) is going to have all this information, but the nice thing is that he’s not going to worry about it because Tek is going to pull the reins and say, 'Go this way' or 'Go that way.'"
With Varitek behind the plate, Weiland retired the first four hitters he faced and, other than a two-run home run to Derrek Lee on a misplaced fastball, didn’t allow much hard contact. Four of the seven hits he allowed in a six-run second inning either were infield hits or bloop hits.
After that rough second inning, Weiland settled down, striking out Lee and getting Mark Reynolds to ground into a double play in the third inning.
Varitek was guiding him from behind the plate the entire time.
"I couldn't have had a better person catch me than a veteran like him," Weiland said. "He knows the game. He knows how rookies feel when they come up here with a little too high (of an) intensity level. It was great having him back there. He stuck with me. He knew what was working for me today and tried to harness it."
You can read the rest here.
All-Star Break: Tek Enjoys Time With His Family
July 13, 2011
From The Republican this evening:
Jason Varitek, left with his daughter Kendall Varitek, age 9, spent part of his visit to Six Flags New England on Wednesday riding the Gotham City Gauntlet.
Varitek and most of his teammates had some free time this week, thanks to the Major League Baseball All-Star break.
You can read the rest and see a larger version of this great photo here.
Francona: Catching Came Together
July 12, 2011
From Mike Fine's interview with Terry Francona via the Norwich Bulletin today:
Terry Francona doesn’t like surprises, so if you should bump into him this week, it’s probably not a good idea to ask him which of his players he thought overachieved over the first half of the Red Sox season.
"I hate to use the word 'surprise' because I think it's a little bit disrespectful to our players," said the Red Sox manager. "I think there’s some things we’re pleased about."
"Our catching, too...they came together. Salty (Jarrod Saltalamacchia, on Saturday) threw the ball as well as or better than I've ever seen him. Those are things that are exciting to our staff."
Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek, who's catching perhaps more than anyone ever expected, have combined to give the Sox .252 hitting with 79 hits, 11 home runs and 42 RBI. Defensively, there's also been quite an uptick in their performance. Saltalamacchia has thrown out a career-high 25 percent of base stealers, Varitek 24 percent.
You can read the rest here.
Jason: "Utmost Respect" for Jeter
July 9, 2011
From interviews conducted by ESPN's Joe McDonald this afternoon in the Red Sox clubhouse after Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit:
Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has crouched behind the plate countless times while Jeter stood in against a Red Sox pitcher. Boston's captain knows exactly how talented Jeter is and how difficult it is to try to get him out, and Varitek praised Jeter's latest accomplishment.
"For anyone, that's a fabulous feat," Varitek said. "To be a part of it in your generation of players is pretty neat. He's been a superstar pretty much since Day 1 that I've been in this uniform and have played against him. He's carried himself that way, he's played that way and there's a reason he has 3,000 hits.
"A great part of my career are the head-to-head battles with that organization. That has been hundreds and hundreds of games. It's been fun. I have the utmost respect for him as a player, the way he conducts himself and the way he conducts himself as a champion."
You can read more here.
Friday Night: Red Sox 10, Orioles 3
July 9, 2011
Check out the post-game (and post-brawl) updates below:
The Boston Globe's Michael Whitmer, "Plenty of twists in this game"
NECN's Maureen Mullen, "Firepower leads Sox past Orioles".
The Boston Globe's Michael Vega, "Fighting Words".
Yahoo Sports' Mark Townsend, "Beantown Brawl: David Ortiz, Kevin Gregg come to blows in Sox win".
And from the Baltimore point of view...
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec, "Couple more thoughts on bench-clearing incident".
Tek: High Praise For Salty
July 7, 2011
"He's been phenomenal. I think he's done an awesome job. I also think that in the same sentence, we need to compliment the man that works with us [bullpen coach Gary Tuck]." -- Jason, on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's work with Tim Wakefield.
From an article written by Evan Drellich and Jason Mastrodonato this evening on RedSox.com:
As Tim Wakefield's knuckleball was the "dirtiest" that Jarrod Saltalamacchia had seen it in a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, the catcher was charged with three passed balls, giving him 10 on the season.
Saltalamacchia had entered the year with 10 passed balls in his career, but before passing judgment, consider the task of catching a knuckler so good that it's allowed Wakefield to become the oldest player -- he's 44 -- to wear a Red Sox uniform.
"Passed balls are irrelevant with Wake -- you're going to miss some," fellow backstop Jason Varitek said. "Sometimes you're at the scorekeeper's discretion if you reach five feet and touch it. Passed balls aren't necessarily a testament to it. I mean, Wake's pretty good."
You can read the rest here.
From the blog, "Saves and Shutouts", written by Nick Tavares:
The brutal art of blocking the plate -
Jason Varitek, captain of the Boston Red Sox, has been splitting time behind the plate with the young Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He’s found his swing of late, tallying five home runs and bringing his average up to .250 in 124 at bats, and he’s been as instrumental in handling the pitching staff as ever. Josh Beckett’s great season, for example, can’t be mentioned without noting a small bit of credit belongs to his longtime battery mate.
And on Tuesday night, one of Varitek’s other skills, blocking the plate, was highlighted in dramatic fashion.
Writer Steve Almond once went into great detail in describing Varitek’s build, referring to his leg as his “rippling man thigh,” in his book, Not That You Asked. In that passage, he was illustrating the helpless feeling as an A’s fan watching Eric Byrnes, their fleet-footed, surfer-like left fielder, try to slide into Varitek. In that playoff game, Byrnes came down the line, Varitek got the ball, and Byrnes seemingly ran into a highway overpass. He buckled, completely lost control of his slide, and went flying. Varitek didn’t move. Out.
Two years ago, I was at an August game in Fenway against, once again, the Blue Jays. With the game tied and the skies opening up, again, John McDonald roped one into the outfield. Travis Snider came wheeling around into the plate with Varitek waiting for Jason Bay’s throw...
You can read the rest here.
Francona: "Tek Deserves The Save!"
July 6, 2011
"He's as good at that (as) anybody in the game. That's a good baseball play. He stuck that stump in there and didn't let him get to the plate. Mac made a great throw." -- More from Terry Francona during his post-gamer press conference.
"I was just trying to get the ball in as quick as I could," Darnell McDonald said. "Great tag by the captain, blocking the plate there. It's a do or die play so I'm just trying to get the ball in as soon as possible." -- Darnell McDonald, in the clubhouse after the game.
"It's the end of the game. Just trying to stay in there. Darnell made a very good throw, a perfect throw. It saved us the game." -- Jason, after the game.
From Dan Duggan at The Boston Herald this morning:
There was plenty of concern when Lester left after throwing 50 pitches, allowing only a walk. He felt cramp-like pain in the large, triangular muscle that covers the lower back during the fourth inning. He consulted with trainer Mike Reinold and was removed from the game.
Lester will undergo an extensive evaluation today, but his initial reaction was that the injury was minor.
Lester left with a 3-0 lead, and relievers Matt Albers, Franklin Morales and Daniel Bard combined for four scoreless innings. Albers (3-3) pitched two shutout innings to earn the win.
The Sox had to hold on in the ninth, as Jonathan Papelbon [stats] allowed a two-run homer to Jose Bautista and had runners on first and second with two outs when John McDonald singled to left. A charging Darnell McDonald fired home to nab Edwin Encarnacion as Jason Varitek [stats] blocked the plate.
"I think Tek deserves a save," Sox manager Terry Francona said. "It’s certainly not the way we drew it up, but that's a heck of a way to win the game."
You can read the rest here.
You can read/hear more about last night's game from:
John Tomasi at The Boston Herald.
Peter Abraham at The Boston Globe.
Tony Lee at NESN.com.
Jerry Remy's interview on WEEI Radio.
You can listen to Jason's post-game comments here.
You can check out a few photos from the game here.
Picture of the Week
This is an unofficial fan site on Mr. Varitek.
For more information, click here.
This Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and elegant with enticing flavors of black currant, tart cherry, tobacco and clove. This Cabernet is a full bodied wine with a finish of moderate tannins.
Proceeds from Captain's Cabernet support Pitching In For Kids, a program dedicated to improve the lives of children across New England. Funds have been earmarked to help Children's Hospital Boston, one of the nation's top hospitals specializing in pediatric care.
To order, click here.
Pitching In For Kids Foundation
Pitching in for Kids, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing grants designed to improve the lives of children across the New England region through sports-related fund-raising events.
For more information, click on the image above!
To see photos of Jason from PIFK events, click here.
Journey Forward is a non-profit organization dedicated to bettering the lives of those who have suffered a Spinal Cord Injury through an intense exercise program. Exercise is important to everyone and even more so to those who have suffered a Spinal Cord Injury.
For more information, click on the image above!
All-Star Sports Equipment -
Prepared to take you onto the field!
Click on the image above for more info!
Scroll down the page to see Jason in his All-Star Sports catchers gear that was specially designed for and worn by him. It was then sold at auction on MLB.com for charity.
2011 Regular Season
For the full schedule on RedSox.com, click here.
Book - Dynasty: The Inside Story of How the Red Sox Became a Baseball Powerhouse
By: Tony Massarotti
Foreword by: Jason Varitek
Available March 31, 2009 - To order online at Amazon.com, click here.
Jason's Holiday Charity Gear!
All game-used gear is auctioned or raffled with proceeds benefitting Jason's favorite charities.
Fourth of July gear: proceeds from the raffle benefit Journey Forward, a non-profit organization based in Boston, helping people with spinal cord injuries.
Memorial Day gear: proceeds from the auction benefit the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund.
Mother's Day gear: proceeds from the auction benefit the Susan G. Koman "For the Cure" Foundation.
*To see more photos and caps of Jason's All-Star holiday gear, including the Father's Day gear, click here.
None at this time!
Nothing at this time!
"I love talking to Pudge whenever he comes. I could sit and talk to him all day long. I wish he was around a lot more often. I think for me personally, the work I've done 10-15 years ago, this is when it's starting to show and pay off. It's put my body in position to handle different things. If I hadn't done that work it would be a lot different." -- Jason talking about Carlton Fisk, from his first 2011 interview with the media, February 20, 2011.
"I'm going to support my teammates. Is that because the 'C' is on my jersey? It wouldn't matter if it's on my jersey or not. There's different ways, whether you're doing good or doing bad, that you have to communicate. Communication; sometimes it's leaving a guy be. Sometimes it's by example. Sometimes it's letting them talk so you know what's going on in the human being because we're all human beings." -- Jason, from an interview in the Providence Journal, May 1, 2010.
"The biggest asset I've always had was dependability out there, is to be able to be out there and whatever goes on, whether you're hitting well or not hitting well, things are going well as a team, or not, they depend on me to be out there. So that part's going to be different. How that transfers over early on, not taking a beating, not playing every night game, day game. I don't know. I might be a little bored, that might be a good thing, we'll see." -- Jason, February 20, 2010.
"Things fell that way kind of the last two months of the season anyway. My role changed. There's different parts. I handled a lot early, played a lot and handled it in a full-time capacity. But I think that just seeing in a different role, how my body adapts to maybe the less pounding and the less physical grind, it might be a good time for me to transition. I'm preparing as I always do, to be able to handle as much as I can. I'll prepare for a full-time role even though it's dictated another way, and that way if something happens, I'm ready to go.
"I think you can reflect back when you're done. I'm preparing to come out here and get to Spring Training and make sure I win myself a job and to make sure I'm able to help this team win games. When I'm done and sitting on the couch and doing that full-time, then I can probably reflect more. I'm happy, and always feel fortunate that I've been able to be here and have a career, period."-- Jason, during an interview with Ian Browne at MLB.com, December 18, 2009.
I’m ectastic that I'm a Red sox. I’m ecstatic for the fact that I had peace of mind to know that I'll be in this uniform. I get closer to retiring in this uniform—not saying that I see retirement anytime soon—but it allows me that opportunity to do what's most important for me, to wear the 'C' for this group of fans and people in this organization who have spent a lot of time building a championship." -- Jason Varitek, in his first interview of spring training, shown live on NESN (February 14, 2009).
"I am aware these could be my last home games here, and I don’t want to take them for granted. That’s as far as I can take it right now. I don’t want to take any of this for granted, particularly the excitement of playing here." -- Jason Varitek, on his pending free agency at the end of this season, Providence Journal, (September 3, 2008).
"There's a reason the Yankees have been as good as they have been since I've been going against them. Jorge (Posada) plays the game right. He has an extreme respect for the game, which you can't help but notice. And his bat is obviously pretty special and he's durable.
"Jorge doesn't get the credit he deserves as a catcher. You can tell he is very good at handling pitchers. ... I respect the way he plays, as I do with their shortstop Derek Jeter and closer Mariano Rivera." -- Jason Varitek, during an interview for an article by Bill Burt of The Eagle Tribune (August 21, 2009).
''That's ridiculous. I'm not that smart to come up with such a clever line in the heat of battle. I knew Arroyo didn't hit him on purpose, and I just told him to get along to first base.'' -- From a September 15, 2004 article in the New York Times in which Jason was asked if he told Alex Rodriguez that, "We don't throw at .260 hitters" during their July 24, 2004 brawl.
From HOF Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk -
"I've always enjoyed the way he catches and approaches the game. He's a tough nut. You need to be one of those to be back there. You can tell by his actions on the field that the most important part of his game is behind the plate. I always felt that was my most valuable place on the field and dealing with the pitchers and positions and the umpires. I see a lot of that in Jason, too.
"When you recognize you have more chances to influence the outcome of the game back there than you do three or four or five times you come to the plate. If you can feel good about what you're doing behind the plate and what the pitcher is doing with you, then you feel that much better than when you go up to the plate.
"Even if things don't work out at the plate, you can still feel as though you have influence on the outcome. I always thought it was necessary for me to come out of the game with a victory. I could go 0-for-4, 0-for-8 or 0-for-the-week, but I know that I blocked a ball to save the run or helped a pitcher out in a tough spot.
"Even though your value doesn't show up in the numbers page, you have a lot of value when you put the gear on." -- From an interview with The Enterprise news (September 20, 2006).
"There's no mystery as to when the Red Sox started to have a little bit of a soft spot. I don't mean to dis' anybody on the club because everybody has their own value. When you saw what happened to the Red Sox when Varitek went down, it shows you the value that he has for his team." -- From an interview with the Lowell Sun News, after the 2006 season about Jason's injury, surgery and stint on the DL (September, 2006).
From The Sports Journalists -
"I was telling a bunch of friends of mine from other teams, Jason Varitek has risen to a place, in my mind, far above what he was when he was hitting 30 home runs as an All-Star. He has been the greatest team guy in that role all year. It's fascinating to be around him because he's a brilliant guy. If he wants to be a manager or general manager that's what he's going to do. He really dedicated himself.
"He's so defensive for his teammates. He actually started up into the stands after a guy who was screaming at Victor one night when they were stealing bases on him. I mean, there aren't many players who would go from making $10 million to $3 million, or go from catching six days a week to catching one or two days a week, and act and behave the way Jason has.
"I think he know he's better off with more time off, because he is so intense. But he really believes he can play three or four more years. I made some comment about the money … and he went, 'If they wanted to pay me $10 million, they would have.' But he seems very happy to be in Boston, in this role, and being supportive of the team. To me, it's been the the brightest of all the bright spots on the team, as someone who has great admiration for him, I have more admiration for him now then I ever had before." -- HOF writer and NESN baseball analyst Peter Gammons, during an interview on WEEI Radio's "The Big Show", May 21, 2010.
"You know, the last two years he got off to reasonably good starts. He cares so much, he is so intense that I think he just wears down. He really can be a very good player in the role he is in now, catching 60 games a year or 50 games. Getting the time off, he has a lot more bat speed this year. So maybe that works. But it just amazes me that he lost his job and he is probably the best friend and the greatest advocate for the guy who took his job. I really respect that. I'm not sure I'd be that way." -- HOF writer and NESN baseball analyst Peter Gammons, during an interview on WEEI Radio, April 23, 2010.
"Jason Varitek is baseball's purest definition of catching." -- Mark Whicker, columnist for the Orange County (CA) Register in his article on October 3, 2008.
"As the 2008 ended, Jason Varitek was a free agent at the end of a four-year contract. He had caught more games than any other Red Sox catcher (1,273); had hit more home runs(158), than any other Red Sox catcher; led the franchise list in home runs by a switch hitter (161) and was tied for second with Manny Ramirez on the team's all-time list for post-season homers (11).
"In Varitek's case, the numbers that mattered most were not batting average or RBI's or home runs. From 1998, when he caught his first game for Boston, through 2008, the Red Sox were 705-468 (.601) when Varitek was the catcher, 256-302 (.459) when he was not.
"It's little wonder why he was an All-Star -- no matter what his batting average was -- and why he joined Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice as Red Sox players who were selected as captains." -- Sportwriter Bill Ballou, in his book "Behind the Green Monster: Red Sox Myths, Legends & Lore", available March, 2009.
"So if this is it -- and it might be -- get a good look at what we've been taking for granted these last 11 years. It's hard to remember any Red Sox player who engendered as much public respect from his teammates as Jason Varitek, and, with the exception of Carlton Fisk, no Red Sox catcher in history ever produced as consistently and as well for as long a period of time.
Remember not the figure who struggled to put his bat on the ball for much of June and July this year. Remember instead a man who, as much as anybody, symbolized the return of the Red Sox as one of baseball's true powerhouses." -- Sports Journalist Art Matone, Providence Journal, (September 19th).
From His Pitchers - Past & Present
"I couldn't have had a better person catch me than a veteran like him," Weiland said. "He knows the game. He knows how rookies feel when they come up here with a little too high (of an) intensity level. It was great having him back there. He stuck with me. He knew what was working for me today and tried to harness it." -- Kyle Weiland, rookie pitcher after his first MLB game, July 10, 2011.
"I have to give Tek a lot of credit. I didn't shake him off one time tonight. His game plan was pretty incredible. I just went with him. I went with him, and it worked out nicely." -- John Lackey, during his post-game interview on June 29, 2010.
"You can see him on the plane and hours before the game sitting there with the scouting report, making notes on it, studying it. To have that, even now, if I'm up in the air on what pitch to go to, I can throw whatever he puts down with 100 percent conviction because I know the work that he puts in." -- Reliever Daniel Bard, in an interview with the Providence Journal, May 1, 2010.
"He's got that C on his chest for a reason. He's one of our emotional leaders. To see him do well is important to all of us." -- Josh Beckett, during a post-game interview, Providence Journal, April 10, 2010.
"Jason Varitek is very special to me because we end up getting in a rhythm very, very quickly. But the bottom line is that it's your fault. If you can't execute a pitch and you give up a hard hit ball it's your fault. Anybody who tells you different is probably a (wimp). For me the thing is that I throw so many pitches. For somebody new it's very difficult to remember everything I throw because I throw everything to both sides of the plate. -- Josh Beckett, during an interview on WEEI on September 19, 2009.
"There isn't a son of a (gun) alive I'd rather have back there!" -- Josh Beckett replies to questions from the media about Jason during a post-game press conference, September 18, 2009.
"Hats off to Jason Varitek tonight for calming me down - I was a little frustrated early. He got a couple of hits, came out of the game, and in the locker room I wanted to talk about his hitting and he wanted to talk about my pitching. It's nice to have a guy behind the plate who cares that much about the pitchers and what they do. He did a good job of getting me through tonight." -- Paul Byrd during his post-game press conference on September 10, 2009.
"He's a warrior, man. He's intimidating when you see him walking out in his full gear and that's exactly why. He's a competitor and that's the reason the Red Sox still want him here, because he does stuff like that for the team. That's not going to show up in the stats or be in the box score tomorrow, but that’s as big a play as you could ask for tonight." -- Pitcher Daniel Bard during post-game comments after Tek blocked the plate sending the Blue Jays' Travis Snider spinning away like a top (August 28, 2009).
"He knows how I am, a laid-back guy having a good ole time, of course serious on the mound, but he knows I like to have fun. And he came along those lines and was there just to make sure if anything didn't go right, wherever there's a time, a few struggles here and there, to make sure I'm keeping my head up, saying, 'Hey, you've got the stuff.' Just simple things like that, always in his mind saying, 'Hey, let's try this pitch here to this batter.' Just talking through things, and that's helped me be a better pitcher in general. And, whenever his career is over, I’ll have a better idea of who I am as a pitcher because of him." -- Justin Masterson, in an interview with NESN (after his trade to the Cleveland Indians) on August 4, 2009.
"Ludicrous! I thought it was ludicrous that they were thinking about not bringing him back. The biggest thing that he brings to our team and means to our team is leadership by example. And when I say that, I mean he shows everyone by his examples how to play, how to be a consistent player and he shows everyone how to play through pain, just everything that goes along with leading by example." -- Jonathan Papelbon, in an interview with NESN on August 4, 2009.
"I thought Tek and I did a really good job. Most normal people probably wouldn't have been playing if they were Tek. I am amazed by what he does, how he goes out there whether he's feeling 100 percent or 5 percent. I think today was probably closer to 5 percent than 100 percent, he deserves a lot of credit for that....we had a game plan and we stuck to it, and like I said, he deserves a lot of credit for that, he really does." -- Josh Beckett, during his post-game press conference after an 8-3 win over the Athletics on July 27, 2009.
"That was one of the concerns of mine when I went to L.A., because I went for months without ever shaking him off. I was like on 'auto pilot' when Jason caught. You don't see guys shaking Varitek off because of his preparation. You have to think more on your own [in L.A.], and that's where you get spoiled with Jason because then you can just let him call the whole game." -- Derek Lowe during a radio interview with WEEI's Joe Castiglione on June 19, 2009.
"It has a huge impact! I mean, certainly the inviting way he can get a pitcher to throw a pitch, it's still up to the pitcher - you've got to be committed! But when you're as established and as confident as he is, he knows everything - his preparation is second to none, and you want to know as a pitcher if you have any sense of doubt, that the guy is going to carry you through those.
"You think about it - you have 115-120 decisions to make through a game and you're not going to be right on all of them, and you need that guy back there empowering you to say, 'this is the right pitch' and working together. You can't be shakin' your head 'no' a lot, at least for most pitchers it's not going to work in an environment like this. If you're not clicking and you're not on the same page, it's going to make for a longer game and a tougher scenario.
"Without a doubt, a catcher is a huge part of a pitcher's success as he goes through the season." -- John Smoltz talking about Jason during an interview with Mohegan Sun's Sports Tonight in relation to a question asked by host Michael Felger, "Can a catcher behind the plate have any impact on the way a pitcher throws a game?" (February 16, 2009).
"There's certain players in Major League Baseball that are on certain teams that you take a gamble on whether it's age or whether it's money. And for me, Varitek is, no question, in that category. I don't care who you bring in or who you take out, there's certain stability, not only in the clubhouse but on the field as well and he's part...no, he's not part, he is the main stability in our clubhouse and on that field, so for me - whether it's the age issue or the money issue, there is no question in my mind that you make that gamble with a person like that! That's the way I feel, that's it. It's that simple for me!" -- Jonathan Papelbon during a phone interview with Comcast Sports Net on bringing 'Tek back for 2009 (January 20, 2009).
"He lives, eats, and sleeps baseball, and cares as much or more than anyone I’ve ever played with." -- Paul Byrd, during a post-game interview after Game 3 of the ALDS (October 13, 2008).
"I knew he was a good catcher, but he is a great receiver. He blocks the ball as well as anybody. What he brings behind the plate, the knowledge he has of hitters, I've had a blast working with him."
-- Paul Byrd talks about his second start working with Jason Varitek (August 22nd).
"For two years, over all those games that Varitek has caught for me, I've been able to pitch with less and less stress over that time and that certainly has helped me in my performance, as well. Any time a pitcher pairs up with a new catcher, there's some adjustments that need to be made and it's not an easy process. So I just hope I get to be paired up with the same catcher for as long as possible." -- Daisuke Matsuzaka, throught his interpreter Masa Hoshino, from an article on MLB.com (October 15, 2008).
"Tek is the most prepared baseball player I have ever been around. He's great because he comes up to you before your start and says, 'Hey, you want to go over these guys?'. He's very outspoken on what he thinks works with these guys (batters), and he's very knowledgable about it because he does the legwork". -- Josh Beckett, from an interview for Major League Baseball (after the 2007 World Series).
"Everyone knows what kind of leader he is. But the biggest thing for me is he leads by example. He’s able to do a multitude of things and [he] carries the load. It’s not one thing. For me, he does it all. He helps me with my confidence and the way he calls a game." -- Jonathan Papelbon, from an interview with the Providence Journal (September 17, 2007).
"He’s helped me out tremendously, especially with the mental side of the game — learning how to pitch to hitters. He’s great, not just at knowing the hitters, but also at understanding what makes each pitcher go. He does a tremendous job behind the plate." -- Rookie reliever Justin Masterson, in an interview with the Providence Journal (September 4, 2008).
"The way he breaks down each hitter, it's unlike anything I've ever seen before - how much pride and passion he takes in everything he does. When he's back there calling a game you can see him thinking about what pitch we want to throw. You don't come across guys that often who 'think' the game while they're playing. He's a great attribute to what happened tonight and I'm glad to say I got to throw to Jason Varitek." -- Clay Buchholz, during his post-game interview after his no-hitter (September 1, 2007).
From His Other Teammates -
"Just because he's not on the field every day, I don't think he prepares less," third baseman Mike Lowell said. "He's in the weight room a lot more because he does have that time. That's just the dedication and the professionalism he brings to himself and his position. All those things encompass being a leader." -- Third baseman Mike Lowell, in an interview with the Providence Journal, May 1, 2010.
"I'm going to be with Jason. He's a great guy, great man. That's why he is the captain. That's a guy that really makes a big difference for me in this clubhouse and on this team." -- Victor Martinez, to reporters during the first day of Spring Training in Fort Myers, February 18, 2010.
"He was generous. To be honest again, I never thought that he was going to be that helpful for me. I started taking a little more of his playing time, little by little. I got more comfortable with the pitching staff because of him. He was a guy who came to me and said, 'If this guy struggles, call this pitch, that will relax him a little bit.' Man, he was great." -- Victor Martinez, in an interview with the Boston Herald, February 15, 2010.
"I love catching. I love the relationship a catcher has with pitchers and the responsibility. But if we have had success with me catching, it's because of Jason Varitek. He has been unbelievable working with me to know the pitchers and work on game plans. I am very fortunate to be able to work with Jason. I look up to him." -- Victor Martinez, as quoted in Peter Gammons' blog at ESPN.com on September 19, 2009.
"I am very respectful for Jason Varitek. He is a great guy and a great catcher. We have been playing a little bit, behind the plate and man, he has been great for me. Varitek you know, he's been there for me. He's always saying, 'if you need anything, you just come out and ask me'. That's the one thing that I really appreciate, that is one of the things that makes me feel more comfortable in the clubhouse and on the field." -- Victor Martinez, during an interview with NESN's Tom Caron on September 10, 2009.
"I think he's such a stable force behind our pitching staff. I think, in today's game, we analyze things so much. I think there's actually an added 'oomph' to guys that can handle a pitching staff. I was actually talking to [Orioles catcher] Gregg Zaun the other day. And I was like, 'So, how’s it going? I see that you’ve been swinging the bat pretty good.' He goes, 'I’m just trying to do my best to call a good game, put the pitcher in a position to win, and if I hit, it's icing on the cake.'
"It's almost gotten to that point where if you have someone who can handle a staff so well, you can almost offset the offense. Well, that being said, no one wants to not hit. And I think Tek's got to be happy with his power numbers. His average I'm sure is lower than what he would want. But I think he's shown that we can play a lot of winning baseball with him behind there. I think there would have been a lot more openings and question marks and inconsistencies if he wasn't here this year." -- Mike Lowell, in an interview with NESN on August 4, 2009.
"One of the things that’s frustrating to me about the way he’s perceived sometimes is that everybody talks about him being a clubhouse leader and all that, but the guy’s a great player. It’s like when (pitcher Greg) Maddux came over to (the Padres). Everyone said, 'He's going to help the young pitchers and do all this stuff.' They’re not paying him $10 million to coach.
"Obviously, I admire the career that Jason's had — being able to win the World Series and put up numbers. Obviously, he’s a great, great player. I’m excited to learn from him and be here." -- Josh Bard, during spring training (February 22, 2009).
"He is the foundation for the team. No matter what he is going through, no matter what he's doing with the bat, he's such a valuable asset to the team. Not only just commanding the game, commanding pitchers and putting them in the right mindset to pitch, but he's just a clubhouse guy that you can always lean on. For me personally he was always there! He was always there - if something needed to be said. He is not a guy that is 'rah rah' or a guy that everyday is going to be cheering you on, but if something needs to be said or something needs to be acted upon - HE is the one do to it.
"If there was something he saw in my game or something happened during the game that he thought I could improve on, he would sit me down and we would have a talk. At the same time, if he saw something that he liked, he would reinforce that. He just handles situations so well. He would be an asset to any team, but because he knows Boston so well, he is even bigger for us." -- Shortstop Jed Lowrie as a guest of the Casey Stern Show on MLB-Radio, February 7, 2009.
"When he walks in the door at one o’clock in the afternoon, his presence everyone feels. He doesn’t even have to say anything. That’s the type of teammate he is and what kind of player he is. Everyone looks to him for advice and looks up to him. That’s why he’s the captain of our team. He sets the tone." -- Dustin Pedroia, during a post-game interview (October 19, 2008).
"From a personal standpoint, he has taught me a lot in this game, both on and off the field. He's a great role model for a lot of people out there and he's a great...you know, what he does for this team is unbelievable. You know, he's not the most talkative guy in the world, but when he says something, it means a lot to the team. That's one thing you can't replace." -- Kevin Youkilis, during an on-air interview at his "Hits for Kids" event (October 20, 2008).
"He’s a human wall behind the plate. Nothing gets by him. As far as preparing for a game, he’s the best I’ve seen. The confidence he brings to our pitchers is invaluable." -- First baseman Sean Casey, in an interview with the Providence Journal (October 4, 2008).
"He (Lester) did a good job. With 'Tek back there calling the game, they're a good combination, and when you have the captain back there you have a good chance of winning." -- Coco Crisp, during an on-the-field interview after the Sox win over the Blue Jays (September 14, 2008).
"He's been great. He's a great person and a great leader, and he is very important to this baseball club. I try not to get in his way too much and try not to bother him. When I have a chance, I ask him a lot of questions. He's been great with that."-- Catcher George Kottaras, after making his major league debut with the Sox (September 13, 2008).
"Man, el capitan, he’s a leader, man! He’s a guy who knows how to deal with situations better than anyone around here, I can tell you that. He’s great. He doesn’t talk too much, but when he sees things going in the wrong direction, he tries to fix them up. "-- Designated hitter David "Big Papi" Ortiz in an interview for the Providence Journal (September 17, 2007).
From His Manager -
"I think Tek is kind of a special guy. I think he's certainly earned that right to wear that 'C' and if his playing time changes a little bit, I don't see his role diminishing ever, [in terms of] what he can bring to a team, even when he's not in the lineup. He's a very strong influence on our team and he always will be." -- Terry Francona, during his conversation with the media at spring training on February 20, 2010.
"You want your catcher to be indispensible. The problem is, when he goes down, you find out he is!" -- Manager Terry Francona talking about Tek (and his stint on the DL in 2006) in a interview for a USA Today Sports Weekly Cover Story (March 30, 2008).
"When we were on the field after the [clinching] game the other night, he put his head on my shoulder and cried like a baby. He had willed everybody to be so good. I think that's why I'm so calm. I know he's in charge. It's his team." -- Manager Terry Francona talking about Tek, from an article first published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (November 2, 2007).
From His Coaches -
"I think Jason Varitek can catch as long as he wants to catch. I think his body will hold up to that. Obviously, there's the shape he gets himself in, and in the [backup] role he is in now with Victor [Martinez] here, I think he can catch at least four, five more years.
"His game hasn't really slowed down. It's the wear and tear of the physical that has affected him along the way. The formula for him this year is to stay strong and healthy. You've got a pretty irreplaceable guy there. No one has the same experience. Only one other guy sticks out, and that's Jorge [Posada].
"I think he could manage in the major leagues. He obviously could coach. He's a great communicator and he's organized. And he's had the luxury of being taught by the best the last three years. That's what I tell him every day." -- Red Sox bullpen coach and catching instructor Gary Tuck, in an interview with ESPN's Gordon Edes on February 26, 2010.
"I don't think they get the credit they deserve. I believe they are taken for granted, especially in this great rivalry. But I've been involved in coaching for 34 years and I never seen anything like these two guys when it comes to catching, leading, work ethic. The fact that they've been matched up against each other for so long and have had the success they've had, winning multiple championships...I believe they are in a class of their own.
"Jason is Navy Seal. He's programed like a computer. His recall is second to none. His prep dwarfs everyone's. I really believe he is the most selfless guy in the game. -- Bullpen Coach and catching instructor Gary Tuck on Jason and Jorge Posada, during an interview for an article by Bill Burt of The Eagle Tribune (August 21, 2009).
"Tek is like a pilot. We're flying along, and we run into a storm, and he takes it up a few thousand miles, brings it back down. He gets you through it." -- Bullpen Coach and catching instructor Gary Tuck, in an article for the Orange County (CA) Register (October 3, 2008).
"I don't know that we can measure the effect Varitek has had on this pitching staff because it has been immense. His ability (is) to not only execute a game plan that we've devised through scouting reports, through our own personal history or through the many other avenues available to us, but to also tailor it within the game depending on what's working effectively for a pitcher that night. He's the most valuable member of our pitching staff." -- Pitching coach John Farrell, during an interview with NESN (September, 2007).
"I've been very fortunate to work with some of the best guys that ever squatted in the game in 30 years, and he's right at the top of the list, if not the top, because of what he brings to the game.
No. 1, mentally, his retention skills, his work ethic, his leadership skills and just his passion for wanting to be a better player at age 35, and he will be a better player this year than he was last year and that's all because he's willed himself to do it." -- Bullpen Coach and catching instructor Gary Tuck, from an interview with MLB's Mike Petraglia (February 27, 2008).
From Major League General Managers -
"If I could take Varitek and put him on another planet, I would." -- Yankees GM Brian Cashman, during a speaking engagement at William Paterson University in New Jersey in January, 2008.
From Major League Managers -
"He's a bulldog! I wouldn't want to mess with the guy. He's big-time old-school. He'll hurt you. He's a throwback player. And there just aren't many out there like him. Players like him just don't come around often." -- John McLaren, manager of the Seattle Mariners in an interview on June 6, 2008.
"I walked up to Varitek and said, 'You don't know who I am but I know who you are. I see the way you carry yourself, I see the way you conduct yourself...' I mean I watch this guy block every pitch, I watch him throw in between innings down to second base - that's what this game needs, it needs people to have respect and play the game the right way!" -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley, during MASN's broadcast of the Red Sox @ Orioles game on May 14, 2008.
"I think he's probably, outside of the Red Sox organization and with the work in the club, he probably gets less appreciation because people are going to focus a lot on the offensive numbers and if you're not having the type of offensive year maybe you're thought not to be contributing as much. But Jason Varitek has been a guy there that has brought as much to that organization and contributed maybe more than anybody to what they've done in the last five or six years.
"So I think I certainly appreciate what he does behind the plate and there is no doubt in my mind about what he brings to that club, and I think when you look at the defensive aspect of catching, not many guys bring it like Jason Varitek does." -- Mike Scioscia, manager of the L.A. Angels, during his ALDS press conference on October 2, 2008.
"He's the heart and soul of that team. I've known that for years. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the All-Star coaching staff and I went up to him, I mean, I didn't even know him, but I told him how much I appreciated the kind of work that he did - that was 2003 I believe. This guy has always been there. He wears it on his face...I mean this guy's always ready to play and his preparation habits are tremendous. You never take him for granted. He wants to win every night!" -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon talks about Jason during his post-game press conference.
From Major League Players -
"Varitek, he knows how to call a game," Molina said. "That's what everybody wants in a catcher. He knows how to take care of his pitchers. To me he’s one of the best in the world. I watch him all the time, because he has good stuff behind the plate. I love to watch him. I love the way he catches." -- Jose Molina, catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, from an interview in the Boston Globe, May 11, 2011.
"That's a man who gives everything he's got to that organization. I really had a great time being Jason Varitek's teammate. He's one of the great teammates I’ve had playing baseball." -- Victor Martinez in Pawtucket on May 2, 2011, for a two-day rehab stint with the Toledo Mud Hens.
"He was the symbol of what a college baseball player is supposed to be. Being there four years, owning almost all of the records as far as hitting, and as a catcher. He was the ultimate competitor then like he is now.
"Coach Hall would always tell me he didn't have to manage when Varitek was back there," Wieters said. "He just took control. He'd sit back and let Varitek be his manager on the field. He didn't need to make trips to the mound or anything like that. Varitek ran the game."-- Orioles catcher and Georgia Tech alum Matt Wieters in an interview with the Boston Herald, June 5, 2010.
"I know Jorge (Posada) really well and he is really an outgoing guy, very funny. I don't know Jason as well, but he's definitely got a tougher exterior. He's all business out there. He's not really an approachable guy." -- Former Yankees catcher and YES Network play-by-play man John Flaherty during an interview for an article by Bill Burt of The Eagle Tribune (August 21, 2009).
"He's definitely come a long way. I was fortunate to, in my opinion, play with the best catcher in all of baseball, especially calling a game in Varitek. And I went years, not starts, but years in Boston and never shook off that, because I had that much faith in his game calling.
"And I think Russell is eventually going to get there. You can't expect him to be at Jason's level this early in his career. We definitely look to him, we definitely lean on him. I think he's definitely open for suggestions throughout the game. But you still have to do your homework being a starting pitcher and you can't 100 percent rely on anybody this time of year." -- L.A. Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe, during a pre-game interview when asked about catcher Russell Martin (October 12, 2008).
"The catcher-pitcher relationship is totally important. My best games on the mound were those in which I didn't have to shake off my catcher's signals. I'd be thinking, 'OK, let's go fastball outside,' and my catcher would signal for a fastball outside. That's what it means to be on the same page. That’s what Varitek brings to the Sox, and I'd certainly want him behind the plate if I were pitching." -- Former MLB pitcher Steven Ellis in an interview with The Swellesley Report, March 16, 2009.
"He's a good pitcher, but I have to give credit to Jason Varitek. You can have a good pitcher, but you need a good catcher to make it complete, and that's what Varitek does." -- Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora, when asked about Daisuke Matsuzaka during a dugout game-time interview with MASN announcers (September 2, 2008).
"You never want to see a no-hitter go against you like that, but, unfortunately, that situation happened.I give a lot of credit to the pitcher, but most of the credit I give to Jason Varitek. He one of the smartest guys, the smartest catcher. He's the one that got that pitching staff going that way about [its] business.
"You want to guess and you're looking for a pitch, it's like Jason is reading your mind. And the pitchers listen to him about the pitch he wants in a certain situation. You think, 'OK, I'm going to take a pitch,' and here you go, he comes with a strike there; and you want to swing, he comes with a breaking pitch. He's a big value to this team, and they should be proud of what they have there. He's a special guy. That's a lot of work to do to be a catcher. It's not just catching the ball and throwing it back to the pitcher.
"You've got to be pretty smart and know the situation and, from what I understand, he's a big student of the game. He studies every hitter and he gets in your head. He's pretty special." -- Royals left fielder Jose Guillen, during a post-game interview after Jon Lester's no-hitter on May 19, 2008.
"The guy is always prepared. He does more and more every day. Every time he gives up a run, he takes it personally. He takes it as his own ERA, and that’s what makes him so different." -- Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Eric Gagne, talking about working with Jason during his time in Boston. Gagne said that Varitek was like no other catcher he has ever worked with.
"I do have a lot of respect for Jason. He's a world champion and I'm not." -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, during an interview in the New York Daily News, March 24, 2005.
MLB Game Announcers -
"It’s really beneficial to the Red Sox pitching staff to be able to think about execution and never think about theory. When you’ve got a 'virtual computer' in Jason Varitek behind the plate calling games, you turn everything over to him and all you think about is executing that pitch." -- MLB game announcer Buck Martinez, on the importance of catcher Jason Varitek to the Red Sox, during the third game of the Toronto series (September 21st).
"I think Varitek is the key. What are the Sox going to do with 'Tek? We talk about their pitching, but there is someone back there calling a lot of signs and who does a lot of work. He puts in yeoman’s work behind the plate, I think they are going to miss that if they lose him behind the plate. We always focus on offense but he brings a lot." -- Harold Reynolds, former MLB player and current MLB commentator on the importance of the Red Sox bringing back Jason Varitek (during the TBS ALCS broadcast, October 19, 2008).
"Jason Varitek might be the most important person on that team and I'll tell you why: If you look at last year when he got hurt in August and didn't play much in September - actually rushed himself back - bottom line: HE is the reason this team plays well.
He controls the pitching staff. He's the heart and soul - When they lost him in August, they were done. That's when they fell way behind the Yankees. They had absolutely no chance after he was gone. He is so important to them." -- New York Yankees game announcer & ESPN radio personality Michael Kay, during his radio show (August 27, 2007).
And Three NHL Hall of Famers -
"I have great respect for Jason. He handles himself so well and you don't hear him complaining. Last year when they brought in a new catcher, Jason did a great job when he was called upon. He's a good person. I've come to know him and he's a gentleman." -- Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins HOF'er, during a Celebrity Skate at Fenway Park on December 18, 2009 as the NHL prepares to get the baseball venue ready for the Winter Classic between the Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers on New Year's Day.
"The thing that's impressive about Jason is his work ethic. How he approaches the game and his leadership. With our fan base, whether it's hockey, football, baseball or basketball, fans want to see guys who are committed, who work hard, who put out an effort, and that's what Jason has done." -- Cam Neely, Boston Bruins HOF'er, December 18, 2009.
"He's an incredible player and has had so many great years with the Red Sox," said Bourque. "He really stabilized that position for so many years. You just listen to the pitchers and their thoughts about working with a guy like that says it all right there." -- Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins HOF'er, who has gotten to know Jason through their work with the Celebrities for Charity organization.
Have you met Jason? Had your picture taken with him? Taken a picture of him? If the answer is yes, and you would like to share your story and/or photo, please
- Boston Red Sox
- Red Sox Foundation
- Jimmy Fund
- Jason Varitek Celebrity Putt-Putt Tournament
- Celebrities for Charities Foundation
- Pitching In For Kids Foundation
- All-Star Sports (makers of Jason's catcher's gear)
- RBI Academy
- Curt's Pitch for ALS
- The Mike Lowell Foundation
- J-V.com MySpace
- Big Ben News (my other site)