Tag Archives: Jason Varitek

Catcher Saltalamacchia’s life is an ugly mess

Back in February, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was receiving a lot more than just pitches on some backfield of the Fort Myers spring training facility. He was also receiving* praise from club officials and coaches, who anointed him as their No. 1 guy. Salty was, literally, sipping champagne and enjoying the thought of the prospective limelight.

*’Receiving,’ in this particular instance, is synonymous with ‘catching.’ Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a catcher for the Boston Red Sox.

“The guy looked like a power forward in the NBA,” remembers one scout. “You know, some height but also some bulk. No one really knows how hard he really worked, but we all kind of think he must have worked pretty hard. I mean, we assume he did…based on what his friends and family told us.”

But, then April rolled around, and that same limelight that came along with all that once-welcomed attention began burning Jarrod’s retinas. They destroyed him like a poorly positioned light tower shining in his eyes while he attempted to throw out base-runners swiping second.

“I can see something’s changed in his eyes,” one player confides. “He is obviously pressing way too hard.”

Stuff About His Personal Life

While no one expected the process of becoming an everyday catcher to be without complication, the 26-year-old Saltalamacchia is off to a bad start of epic proportion—even by Boston Red Sox standards.

Suddenly, people are avoiding Jarrod like he is an adulterer living in Puritan New England. His teammates have distanced themselves from him, manager Terry Francona is no longer writing him into the lineup as frequently and, perhaps worst of all, women refuse to talk to him in social situations—even when he uses fellow teammates as wingmen.

To put it plainly and simply, Saltalamacchia commands zero respect.

The results have not been pretty. A backup catcher at the beginning of the season, Jason Varitek could soon surpass Salty in plate appearances as their roles have seemingly been reversed.

To his credit, V-Tek has fulfilled his part as team captain admirably by supporting Salty in the media, working with him on improving his confidence and providing him with helpful hints on how to score ready and willing women.

“Unfortunately, Jarrod already fumbled away his chance at Heidi Watney well before Jason could offer him any, um, ‘insider’ advice,” laments one club source.

The source would not reveal exactly what transpired other than saying, “Look, I don’t want to turn this into some puff piece about an athlete’s personal life…But let’s just say Saltalamacchia might have been a little too blunt about his expectations of how far exactly being anointed Boston’s starting catcher would get him with Heidi.”

And, so, Jarrod Saltalamacchia continues his embarrassing tailspin.

Some Anecdotal Evidence

“I can’t say it’s very inspiring for any of us to see him like this,” says one teammate who wished to remain anonymous. “In fact, it can be pretty depressing. Our pitchers argue over who gets Varitek as their ‘personal catcher’ because, frankly, nobody wants to be tossing pitches to the other dude.”

Another clubhouse insider relates similarly emotional scenes.

“Jarrod was in one of the batting cages underneath the stadium a couple weeks ago trying to work on hitting breaking balls. Just swinging and missing at everything. All of a sudden, one of V-tek’s daughters shows up and just takes the bat out of his hands, literally. He relinquishes it and Varitek’s kid chokes up on the bat a bit and starts knocking liners right back at the machine like it was nothing. Incredible.”

And incredibly embarrassing for Saltalamacchia, who was later seen trying to conceal a good deal of weeping while at his locker.

Trite Statements about the Future

Nobody wants to hazard a guess as to where Salty goes from here. While some may be quick to point out that Varitek’s production (.128 AVG / .227 OBP / .154 SLG) at the plate is even more anemic than Salty’s (.207/.258/.276), club officials believe the captain is simply trying to minimize the pressure on the “starter” by declining to overshadow him.

Says a scout: “In the past, Jason probably would have at least started, you know, slugging higher than his playing weight by now. But, he’s at a place in his career where putting up numbers at the plate isn’t a priority. Sure, some extra base hits would be nice. But he’s got a bunch of other stuff going for him right now. Too bad we can’t say the same for Jarrod. He’s just bumming everybody out.”

Colour Commentary: Red Sox Hot Stove Analysis From Liverpool

O, dear brothers, surrounded by ignorant droogs interested only in footie, Your Humble Narrator across the pond just barely survived the most dreadful torture of a Sox-less World Series. Take pity, my dear friends, on the no doubt several thousand fools who viddied such senseless rubbish. (That wanker Edgar Renteria as MVP? A bloody travesty!)

Thank goodness for the great hot stove winter season, an orgy of free agent signings, arbitration offers/non-offers and key trade transactions. Our favourite baseball club in Boston shall no doubt be active.

It seems to me, dear brothers and sisters, that there are many issues confronting Lord Theo and his apprentices. In between fantastic visions of saddling that prime baboochka Heidi Watney with the old in-out, in-out, YHN has constructed a game plan of sorts for a successful winter.

Sir Ortise
Well pull down my knickers and twink my willy, the beloved designated swatter did not go zero-for-600 as some predicted in early April. Lord David’s rookers are a bit slower through the strike zone these days, but Your Humble Narrator modestly proposes extending Big Papi for no more than, say 15 million gollies ($21m US) for three more years. After which time, your narrator most enthusiastically volunteers to take the ageing man out to the nearest woodshed for proper burial.

Victour Martinez

How frightfully distressing all this talk of Jason Varitek’s potential return has been on Your Humble Narrator’s poor gutsalug. The team must simply rid itself of this bloke, everything from the horrific pop-disk at-bat musical introduction to his oozhasny discipline at the dish.

Meanwhile, Victor Martinez is adequate behind the dish, adds insurance at first base, shows a mighty good swing and makes us all shite our knickers in laughter when he rubs Adrian Beltre’s incredibly irritable gulliver. And he can be signed for three years if the money is right. And he’s a good teammate. And Bob’s your uncle.

Dear brothers, I confess to many times this past season soiling my poor neezhnies when brother Pap took the hill. A most unfavourable feeling of nausea overtakes my innards when I think about an arbiter awarding this man more than 10 million gollies to continue twisting up my embattled knickers. A trade of Dropkick Pap for  perhaps one major-league ready player and some B-level prospects would greatly please YHN, who, I must state, never could love the boy after his mock on-field display of the dance of Satan himself: the Irish step. Ship him up—and out—of Boston.

The Corner Soomkas
My friends, first and third are two positions of extreme importance for any organisation, particularly as poor brother Youkilis’ stardom will likely be continuously challenged by high, tight pitches aimed at his gulliver. The wear and tear on the Greek God of Knocks leads YHN to believe first base is the place for his talents.

And what more need be said of Adrian Beltre, dear reader, than all the praise already heaped in local gazettas? His 2010 was the dog’s bollocks, which may just be a problem for Lord Theo when it comes to signing a fair-market deal. Nevertheless, YHN believes the rumpy pumpy marriage between Beltre and Fenway Park is one that could thrive for four more years.

Unless the veck wants something obscene like $13 million ($18m US) per year. In that case, he may kindly piss off and waste away his inconsequential final years somewhere else as we question his true commitment and openly root against him from afar.

Jayson Werth
Devote readers, a veteran player with postseason success (tied for the most NL home runs all time), a scraggly beard, dirty hat and hard, desirous look (white) will most certainly fit into this team bloody well if either Sir Victour or Lord Adrian defect elsewhere. Let’s say four years, $34m eurogollies ($48m US).

The Rotation
Welly, welly, well it does appear the future is mostly bright here. In addition to Master Lester, Brother Clay has become a top-class ace. It was clear his newly domesticated existence cleared his gulliver of the siren’s call of the strange, clearing his mind in order to perfect command of his fantastic change-up.

I believe the recent birth of a mini Clay will afford even less time for lubbilubbing with various dolled-up Hags of the Hub. A solid follow-up to this past season would be most agreeable.

John Lackey was certainly a one-man horrour show in 2010. But the righty has a swell, jagged set of teeth with which to grit as he continues to eat up innings for the club for the next—hang on one moment while I check this media guide—FOUR HONKING YEARS??!! Oh…oh my. You noble narrator will simply close his eyes when Lackey takes the hill. Oh, I simply must find a rubbish right away…

[This is several hours later, dear reader] YHN notes this veck Daisuke can’t be fagged to throw one pitch in less time than my old lady takes to fix her Earl Gray. He quite simply must be dispatched to a poorly run organization in the National League before YHN’s patience is tried.

That is all, for now, dear readers. Your horrid American businessmen, click-clacking away on Dingleberrys up in the Fenway pavilion seats, have officially exhausted the standard British sign off (“Cheers”). So YHN will instead leave with a simple ta ta.

Clay Buchholz’s Love Doctor Mailbag: Red Hot Summer Edition

Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is on a roll thus far in 2010. He’s 10-4 with a sub-3.00 ERA and appears to be putting together an All-Star-caliber season. Using his instinctive guile, Clay is tearing through batting orders the same way he used to plow through women before marrying model Lindsay Clubine last fall. Even amidst preparations for the birth of his firstborn child, Buchholz found some time to impart some of his pimping wisdom to his faithful fans at Fenway Pastoral.

Clay, what’s the deal with NESN Sportsdesk anchor Jade McCarthy’s mole located above her top lip? At times, I’m able to rationalize it as a Cindy Crawford-esque beauty mark, but just as often it just seems like a regrettably-placed distraction. Help?

– Andrew from Plymouth

I’m not a big fan of facial blemishes, Andrew. Whenever I turn on NESN and Jade and Her Mole are on the screen, I imagine that she is wearing one of those sexy silver stud rings some girls have pierced onto their faces. Usually, when you see a chick who has a weird piercing like that on her lip or nose or (obviously) her tongue, it means she’s gonna be pretty wild when you get down to rolling around in the hay with her.

Clay, you managed to impregnate your wife within a couple months or so of marriage. But Sox owner John Henry was married to his wife/muse for nearly a year before he was able to slip one past the goalie. What gives?

– Lynn from Chatham

Well, Lynn, I can’t say for sure, but it’s probably all the energy drinks and protein shakes. Also, there are certain positions that I like my partner to be able to contort herself into that are more conducive to getting a broad pregnant. Honestly, Mr. Henry is kinda old, so I hope he didn’t try any of my moves.

Clay, I’m 17 years old and pretty new to the … “dating” scene. Whenever I’m in the throes of the moment in the bedroom, I find it useful to think about baseball when delaying arrival at the finish line. This method must not work for you since you’re probably always thinking baseball all the time anyway, right?

– Brett from Lexington

Brett, I spend six-plus months in a major league locker room. I see a lot of dudes parading around in towels on a daily basis and they’re not all svelte guys in their primes. I’ve got plenty of ammunition to slow down the clock if I really need it. But in all honesty, dude, why are you trying to delay the inevitable? You’re young. Relax and let the game come to you. You can’t move onto the next batter until you’ve gotten the one at the plate out. Also, throwing a few side sessions in the “bullpen” in between starts might help a young player like yourself find the proper rhythm.

What, exactly, did Jason Varitek get himself into with Heidi Watney? The guy romances her a few times and the next thing he knows, the chick is scurrying over to him every time she needs a player to toss her a bone with some throwaway quote on camera.
– Jeff from Manchester

All I can say about that situation is I feel bad for poor ‘Tek. Generally speaking, a man should always make it clear to a female from the get-go whether he sees her as a full-time starter or just a situational reliever.

Clay, I was at a gentleman’s club in Austin last week getting a lap dance when I noticed that the woman taking care of me had a small tattoo of the New York Yankees logo just to the left of her landing strip. I, uh, immediately wilted like A-Rod in October and actually cut the dance short before the end of the 20 minutes I’d paid for. What’s the etiquette in that situation? I already paid for about twice the amount of time she was with me, but she seemed peeved I didn’t give her a tip on top of my wasted up-front fee.

– Gerald from Bangor

You did the right thing cutting the dance short, Gerald. But really, it sounds like your laziness lead to some buyer’s remorse. You should always make sure you get a good overview of the lady offering you a private dance before shelling out any dough. Next time, have the dame do a few twirls in front of you to get a better idea what you’re getting into. It’s OK to say no and if any other strippers are around, they’ll appreciate your discerning tastes.

Click here to read the Valentine’s Day edition of the Love Doctor Mailbag

Click here to read last October’s edition of the Love Doctor Mailbag

Sources: Varitek injured neck attempting Jerry Seinfeld’s fabled ‘move’

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has been sidelined this week with a neck strain that was purportedly caused by an ill-fated attempt to master a bedroom ‘move’ first outlined in a 1995 episode of the popular sitcom Seinfeld.

According to clubhouse sources, Varitek (affectionately referred to by fans as “V-Tek”) failed a crucial prerequisite for performing Seinfeld’s ‘move’ sometime during the team’s road trip to Texas. In the episode, the exchange between the comedian and his best friend, George Costanza, described the maneuver as follows:

Jerry: All right. On your bed. You got a headboard? You’ll need a
George: I got a headboard.
Jerry: Is it padded?
George: No.
Jerry: Good. How tall is she?
George: Five-foot four. Why?
Jerry: You can’t have more than a one-foot differential in your heights…Otherwise, you could really hurt your neck.

“Jason evidently didn’t take Jerry’s advice about the height differential…the woman apparently would have made Dustin Pedroia look like Manute Bol,” said the source. “Most of the guys think he also had a padded headboard, but there isn’t a lot of soft cushioning in it. The feeling is that it was similar to the padding at the base of the Green Monster or along the right-field wall.”

According to the source, the club is rationalizing the injury as a simple case of collateral damage resulting from his divorce last year. The Victor Martinez trade was completed, in part, to insure the team in the event of this type of injury to Varitek.

“V-Tek’s gotta play the field and prove his worth in certain arenas,” said a member of the catcher’s inner circle. “He can’t be a one-trick pony at his age. If he doesn’t prove his versatility, a younger guy is going to step in and take control. Nobody can really blame him for trying to add a new routine to his repertoire.”

Another clubhouse source concurred. “As a baseball player, V-Tek has always done those little, immeasurable things that don’t necessarily show up in the box score. Off the field, he’s the same way.”

Details on whether Varitek closed with a clockwise or counter-clockwise swirl were unavailable as of this writing.

Sources: Epstein re-ignites trade talks after Varitek refuses to change at-bat music

BOSTON, Mass.–Despite belting a home run on opening day, Jason Varitek’s insistence on continuing his tradition of being serenaded to the plate by a decade-old Three Doors Down song has increasingly drawn the ire of Theo Epstein.

The song, Kryptonitepeaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000. While catchy enough to capture a nation’s heart during the first summer of the millenium, the song’s stalwart status as Varitek’s at-bat intro music seems to have finally pushed Epstein over the edge, according to sources citing the general manager’s well-documented affinity for Pearl Jam.

“I think Theo looks at a guy like Jason Bay, who started going to the plate to [Pearl Jam’s hit single] Alive after he got traded to Boston, and he sees potential for Varitek to get out of this awful rut he’s been in the last year and a half,” said one source with direct knowledge of the situation.

According to an assistant present during contract talks with Scott Boras this past winter, Epstein even went so far as to attempt to insert a clause into Varitek’s contract requiring him to change his at-bat song to Lukin. After reluctantly listening to the minute-long cut from Pearl Jam’s 1996 album No Code, Varitek firmly declined.

Continued badgering from the GM only served to make the situation more tenuous. According to some obervers’ versions, Epstein routinely crank called Varitek during spring training, spamming the catcher’s Blackberry with links to classic concert footage and loudly playing snippets of various Pearl Jam tunes when the Captain answered his cell phone.

The trouble for Epstein at this juncture will be finding a team willing to make a deal so early into the season. The Texas Rangers’ Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a home run on Tuesday night, meaning the asking price has likely only gone up since offseason trade talks between the two clubs fizzled. The shared fear within the club now is that Epstein will complete any deal floated his way for any backstop willing to be introduced to Pearl Jam music. It could be almost anybody, sources say.

Perhaps even more disturbing is a club insider’s assertion that Epstein has wanted to rid the Red Sox of Varitek for several years because of the song choice. “This is going to be really hard to hear for some Boston fans, but Theo was ready to ship the guy out of here at the end of 2006, when he still had some value…Unfortunately, he was overruled by ownership and he ultimately either lost interest or relented because Pearl Jam was on tour and he had tickets to something like 20 out of 23 shows that spring.”

Opinions of Red Sox fans interviewed in Kenmore Square after Wednesday night’s 7-2 loss ran the gamut.

“I love Theo, but that song was around way before he was,” said Shelly Silva, 29, of Yarmouth. “I’ve gotta say, I’m surprised people are still talking about trading the Captain of the team. He has more home runs than David Ortiz…”

Meanwhile, Bert Fleisch, 41, of Wellesley is happy to give Epstein a few suggestions for a replacement. “You know who I like is that guy for the Braves who’s already hit two home runs this year. Seems like he might be the best bet to get a guy on the team who can hit 60 dingers for us.”

Local man would sleep with Heidi Watney

CARVER, Mass. — In a small, working class town known mainly as the pimple on the hindquarters of Plymouth county, the early morning sun beats down onto the pale green vines that lay flat over one of Francis Flynn’s many cranberry bogs.

Sheared wooden stems protrude from the green expanse, top-layered with vines cut dead under one of Flynn’s tractors last fall—days after the final out was recorded in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in Tampa Bay.

After a brutal winter of ice, snow and sleet pelted, submerged and suffocated Flynn’s precious beds—on which cranberries will soon sleep—weeks of work are in store in order to prepare the fickle peat at the bottom of these marshy bogs before they are ready to reap a harvest of oblong diuretic red pellets. Tractors need to be serviced; weeds must be removed; beds must be fertilized. With his main assistant in court this morning after picking up a DUI early Saturday morning, Flynn, 38, is left to fend for himself on this chilly Monday morning.

Yet, gazing out over his bog while taking a long, deliberate swig of his 32-ounce Honey Dew coffee, Flynn only wants to talk about one thing.

“I would do Heidi Watney,” he says of NESN’s on-field reporter, when asked about the Boston nine’s prospects for the upcoming season. “I just want to get that outta the way right now. Anybody who the Captain would do, I would do. It’s as simple as that.”

After falling one game short of the World Series last fall, it appears Watney’s second year as team reporter will be a major storyline this spring and perhaps beyond as fans increasingly embrace her presence and impact on the team. Yet with the season opener closing in fast, it is a storyline that has fallen by the wayside.

“I was down at Sullivan’s Tap before the B’s game the other night. All anyone could talk about was ‘Tek’s ballpark adjusted OPP (sic), negative age 35-plus career arcs and batting average on balls put in play. I’m sick of talking about last year,” says Flynn. “The handwringing over offensive production? I don’t know, that ship sailed for me a long time ago.”

When Baseball Prospectus came out with its annual season projections in early February, Flynn admits being surprised there was no projection of “games worked” for Watney similar to the plate appearance forecasts BP provides for individual players. Once he took a closer look at the BP projections, however, Flynn put the omission into context.

“They (BP) got Youk batting .270 and Ortiz driving in only 89 ribs?,” he says. “Obviously anybody who thinks Lowell’s only gonna hit 15 dongs isn’t too much of an expert.”

He defers when asked to give his take on the durability questions about David Ortiz and Mike Lowell heading into the season. Indeed, other than his cranberry bogs, only one thing seemed to be on Flynn’s mind as spring training nears its conclusion.

“That kind of dirty blond hair and blue eyes? The sleeveless tops she wears on those hot, humid days at the park…Yeah, I’d say I’m a fan.”

The start of a Red Sox season is always exciting, especially for fans curious about the assimilation of key figures in the clubhouse. For younger prospects and rising stars, the sophomore season’s success or failure has become a cliché in itself.

“You look at a guy like Youk in 2005 or Dustin last year…the second full year in the league is always a big leap,” Flynn asserts. “I’m worried she may get a little too comfortable after last year. I hope she got some new outfits…”

Because of Watney’s late start last season (she did not begin reporting on games until May), the case can be made that this year will be more challenging as she attempts to prove she can survive a full season’s workload.

“She’s kind of like the guy who’s only had a few hundred at bats,” Flynn says. “The sample size may not be big enough yet to prove she’s the real deal. Like I said, though, I would do her. I’m a big fan.”

For lifelong Red Sox fans like Flynn, staying power is an important attribute for the on-field reporter position. The organization has become increasingly frustrated at what has become, in recent years, a turn-style spot in the order akin to shortstop. While the able-bodied Tina Cervasio was a solid temporary solution, her advanced age and fleeting dedication to the job motivated the Red Sox to find a younger, rising star who they could groom in their own image.

And for salt-of-the-earth fans like Flynn, Cervasio’s married status was somewhat unbecoming of an on-field reporter.

“Watching baseball has to be about more than just pitching, hitting and defense. I like seeing women on TV who I have a chance with,” says Flynn. “If I want to look at a girl I can’t sleep with, I’ll flip over to one of those MTV reality shows and pretend the flicker is acting up if my wife comes into the den.”

Count Flynn among the many Red Sox fans who believe NESN should televise more spring training contests in Florida. The station will air a total of nine games over the course of six weeks as the team prepares for the regular season.

“It’s really not enough for fans like me. I’m a diehard and after a 12-hour day out on the cranberry bog, all I want to do is crack a cold one and watch Heidi.”

Flynn also raised his concern that less televised games in March means Watney will be shaking off any residual rust at the beginning of April.

“If she’s bumbling around out there like Dustin in April 2007, they’re going to regret it.”

With this warning, Flynn reinserts his new camouflage Red Sox ‘hanging sox’ logo cap onto his head and excuses himself, heading back to his toolshed. He has fields to sow and his musings have left him behind on the day already as the 7 a.m. sunbeams have risen their way over the oak trees that surround Flynn’s bogs. If the weather cooperates and Flynn does his job right, his plants will yield red, pick-able berries in early October. The Red Sox may very well be in the playoffs by then. But all that is a long away for Flynn. The early spring preparation process must go on and the tail end of winter just got a little warmer for Flynn as he returns to work, thinking of easy-going summer nights.