Thanks Cap’t

English: Photo of Jason Varitek in catcher's g...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is a sad day in the Nation: The captain is riding off into the sunset.

Today will mark the end of Jason Varitek‘s career as a baseball player.  He will go down as the benchmark for all other Red Sox catchers.  He is and always will be the epitome of hard work, dedication, smarts, toughness and love for the game.

For many reasons he was my favorite Red Sox player.  For many years, I argued he was the best all-around backstop in the game.    He could hit, field, throw, block and lead.  Sure, other catchers could do some things better than him, but he had the whole package.  No one controled the pitching game like he did.  He came up with the game plans everyday and when that failed he took the blame over the pitchers.  He never once threw one of his hurlers under the bus.  When the team won, it was due to the pitchers executing when the team lost, it was him having a bad game plan.  That’s a sign of a true leader and a great catcher.

If anyone had any doubt what kind of receiver he was, just take a look at what he did that no one else has ever done: he played in the Little League, College and MLB World Series, he caught four no-hitters and beat the piss out of A-Rod.

Over the years, his skills have diminished.  He became a relegated to back-up duties the past few years but that didn’t change the way his teammates felt about him.  He was still their rock both in the clubhouse and on the field.

When I coach my catchers, I want them to emulate Tek.  I figure if that’s the goal we shoot for, even if we fall a little short, I’ll have some pretty damn good catchers on my hands.  I guess yo can say I really loved how he played the game.  He was always dirty, he busted his ass on very play, hell I even loved how he sprinted around the bases after a homerun, almost as if to say, I gotta hurry up and get back in the dugout and do my job.

This season will be a very different Red Sox seasons for a lot of reasons.  The top one on my list will be not seeing #33 running out and leading this team.

From one of your biggest fans: Thank you Jason Varitek for 15 great seasons.  You will always have a place in Red Sox lore.  Enjoy your retirement.  You’ve earned every minute of it!!

Jonathan Papelbon (right) and Jason Varitek

Image via Wikipedia

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One Response to “Thanks Cap’t”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. It’s going to take some getting used to not having Tek in uniform.

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