Friday, December 24, 2004
We got our guy! Our quarterback (as Bronson Arroyo said), our leader, our heart and soul, our preparation freak, our ARod masher, our catcher.
Apparently the Red Sox not only resigned Jason Varitek (4 years, $40 million), they surprised him at the press conference by presenting him with a jersey boasting an embroidered red 'C'. Varitek's been the de facto captain of the Sox for some time now, but there hadn't been an official Team Captain since Jim Rice in 1989. After hearing essentially every player come out and say that they needed to resign him (including the backup catcher, Doug Mirabelli, who would actually have benefited from 'Tek not coming back and the new pitchers we picked up, who said they were looking forward to getting a chance to work with him), it's nice to see that the front office chose to formally acknowledge his importance to the team.
I'm certainly glad that he's back. Not only was he important to the team because they all like him and look to him as a leader, he was important because we needed a catcher, and there wasn't much else out there. People are complaining (because, for Red Sox fans, nothing will ever stem the flow of complaints) about the length and heft of the contract, and I admit that it is a bit overlong and, uh, overhefty. At the end of 4 years Varitek is going to be a 38 year old catcher, which is generally an age at which catchers have ceased to be even remotely effective. If he does decline normally, that means we'll be paying out $10 million for a guy who isn't getting the job done.
He might not decline that precipitously, though. The numbers might indicate that this is the normal progression for catchers (i.e. downturn in the early 30s, useless in the late 30s), but there have been exceptions here and there-- such as Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, who was quite good at 37. 'Tek also might have less wear-and-tear on him than other catchers at his age, because he missed time in the past with a broken elbow. Less playing time in past seasons means less wear on his knees, which might mean that his longevity could be greater than one would expect for another catcher.
But all of this is beside the point. The point is this: if not 'Tek, who? It would have had to be some sort of platoon with Mirabelli and someone, and quite frankly I did not like any of the prospects on the market. So far as I'm concerned 'Tek is second only to Pudge, who was not on the market. There are better defensive catchers out there, but do they have comparable offense? And a catcher who can hit is lovely, but not if his defense is abysmal. 'Tek does both. Not as well as Pudge, but certainly better than most everyone else out there. If we didn't want to deal with a large downgrade at the catcher position, we needed to resign 'Tek.
Anyways, I think I bored everyone with that (I know my mother's eyes are glazing over as she reads this), so enough of the foolish attempt at seriousness. I'm happy the dude is back, and if you're not, I stick my tongue out in your general direction. Oh, and apparently Theo Epstein has stolen Varitek's goatee. This needs to stop right now. Theo, you look much better clean-shaven. 'Tek, you look much better with the goatee. Stop these unnatural shenanigans before it is too late.
Oh, and I may as well extend a hearty congrats to Jason Varitek on his alma mater's fine performance in the Champ Sports Bowl. Georgia Tech slaughtered Syracuse. Hooray, your team won in a shit bowl that essentially no one watched or, indeed, cared about! I wonder if he called Nomar up to celebrate?
Yes, I am indeed at home now, in the lovely East. I've been hanging out with Jess quite a bit because she's leaving for Israel shortly and will not return until I am already back at school. Thank you University of Michigan for having the shortest winter break imaginable. It turns out that almost all my local friends are going off on vacations, since they all have month-long breaks and whatnot. Fine, except that apparently a lot of them are not going to be around for my short window of nonschooling. Lovely. You all suck.
On the brighter side: CATS. Yes, I have reachieved cat access. After spending two or so months dissecting the critters, it is unspeakably wonderful to get them whole, warm, and breathing. Except that I now have the disorienting and occasionally worrying ability to pick them up, cuddle them, and name the muscles that I'm running my fingers over. For instance, I'll cradle Miranda and start to stroke her under the chin, only to suddenly find myself thinking, "And this here is the digastricus..."
A rather unfortunate and unexpected side effect of that class. I'm hoping it will wear off with time, but it hasn't shown any sign of abating yet. We shall have to wait and see.
Since I did the 8 Days of Jewish Baseball in honor of Chanukah, I suppose I would be remiss if I did not extend a seasonal greeting to the goyim readers of this blog. Now, I'm no theology major, so I won't pretend to know lots of fun facts about the holiday. I'll restrict myself to saying, A Merry Christmas to y'all. It's a fine holiday, and one that we can all appreciate.
After all, how can a holiday go wrong when it's celebrating the birth of Johnny Damon?
edit: I almost forgot, there was football today. Vikings/Packers. The Packers won, thereby clinching the NFC North and making me sort of happy. If you refer back to a previous post you know that, against all reason, I like the Green Bay Packers. And I naturally dislike the Viqueens, so, um, huzzah. Go Pack Go.