Varitek honored at Fenway
The Red Sox honored Jason Varitek with a nice tribute before tonight’s game at Fenway against the Blue Jays. Without question, being away from the game is still an adjustment. But he seemed in good spirits on a night he was accompanied by his wife, four children, his parents and several friends from the various chapters of his life.
In the mid-innings, Varitek conducted an interview with the Boston press core in which he spoke about a variety of different subjects.
on the emotional ceremony: “I’m really trying to absorb what just happened. I think I spent a lot of time out there trying to absorb but I don’t think i fully can because on my mind is, you’re there, they’re doing this for you, and I in turn want to say thank you. How do you say thank you for 15 years? How do you say thank you to a fan base that has been nothing but support, and a fan base that I fit with with my style of play and what they demanded? To say thank you for that. It was bothering me for quite a while. I had a lot of anxiety and a lot of emotions going into today.”
Coming on to the field as a retired player instead of an active one: “It’s just different. Instead of preparing, you’re just in and out. It’s a sacred place. It’s a place you appreciate. Especially this field.”
Has he gotten rid of the itch to play? “I probably never will, but I’ll be all right.”
On the development of Saltalamacchia: “Everybody started to appreciate what Salty’s doing more when he had 10, 12, 13, 14 home runs. He was catching the ball, throwing the ball and doing the right things behidn the plate well before that. The offensive recognition gave him recognition for something that he was doing superbly behind the plate, but those aren’t statistics. Those aren’t things that allow people to hold onto. To see those things is such a joy, just watching him catch at the beginning of the season. The way he’s catching the ball, the way he’s moving, the way he’s doing things, it’s nice. His work and everything he’s gone through the last year and a half and before that, it looks good.”
The first pitch to Wakefield was a second-rate knuckleball: “I tried to. Should have warmed up. I used to mess around and throw it days Wake would pitch, Salty and I would finish with, like, 10-15 knuckleballs. I have the worst knuckleball in baseball. Once in a blue moon I’d throw a good one. But it would be maybe one out of a hundred. I saw the movie Knuckleball and it didn’t help me.”
Life as a fan? “I felt like a fan the other night. I had the girls all in rally caps, hats backwards and inside out going into the ninth inning, and it worked. Cody hit the three-run homer, and they’re just lit up, happy. That’s the first time I’ve been able to do stuff like that with my kids. It’s weird for them — ‘What are you doing watching a game with us? You’re supposed to be out there. Who are these guys? Why aren’t you out there?’ Yeah, I’m a fan.”
Thoughts on the struggles of Lester and Beckett? “The detail, I haven’t watched in that much detail. I know the outing before last, Josh threw pretty doggone well. His last one wasn’t too, too good, but everybody has the tendency to look at what was most recent. Josh, for the most part, you put the majority together, has done pretty well. Jonny, it hasn’t been easy for him, but sometimes when things aren’t easy, maybe the next two months could be. It looks like he’s got good stuff. It’s execution. If they’re executing 1-4, they’re going to be fine. They’ll start with No. 1 and execute that and work everything, the ability to work everything off that, they’ll be fine. If we stay in the moment of negativity, so to speak, we can all catch ourselves in that same turmoil of ‘What’s wrong?’ instead of ‘What’s right?’ and through that, continue to focus themselves on what’s right and not what’s wrong.”