Readers, it’s a blog. It’s a blog that happens to be printed every week in dead-tree format. It’s published online in the same single-column format that UmpBump and countless other blogs are published in. And while countless other blogs might write the following screed, countless other blogs would be doing it because they, of course, are actual baseball writers’ wives who sit in their pajamas in mom’s basement all day making sh*t up. Or, they’re me, and they’re just really sick of Julio Lugo’s 18 errors and 27 strikeouts per game and have to let off some way over-the-top steam.
But theoretically, Chad Finn is more informed than Murray Chass’s wife and actually meant it when he wrote this about about Jason Varitek — either that, or it’s just the fledgling site’s attempt to get comments and incoming links. Some excerpts:
“Recent events suggest he’s teetering on becoming one of the most vile subspecies of professional athletes: an aging, subpar performer who demands the salary and security of a prime-of-career star.”
That’s just factually incorrect. The most vile subspecies of pro athletes are the ones in their prime who have everything going for them and who don’t play hard or who blame their teammates for losses. Other key subspecies: the ones who beat their wives, rape hotel clerks, get arrested for torturing dogs, or unlawfully discharge firearms in strip clubs.
“Scott Sauerbeck. Chad Bradford. Jeff Suppan. Byung-Hyun Kim. Ramiro Mendoza. Bobby Howry. Matt Clement. Wade Miller. The point isThe Red Sox had enough pitchers who failed miserably here in recent years to fill every staff in the Can-Am League. If Varitek is going to get heaps of praise for the successes, shouldn’t he accept some measure of fault for the failures? Funny how no one ever mentions he caught 13 of Clay Buchholz’s 15 starts this season.”
The Buck’s problem is that he suddenly couldn’t locate his fastball. That’s the first rule of pitching, and I fail to see how Tek can help him there. In start after start, we watched Buchholz try to establish his fastball, only to fall behind in the count when he couldn’t put it over the plate. His breaking stuff was still nasty, but without the fastball, pitchers had no incentive to swing at it.
Varitek is tied for most no-hitters caught, and would have the record if Curt Schilling had listened to him with two out in the bottom of the ninth in 2007. Are we really going to blame him for Matt Clement, who had to have season-ending shoulder surgery? Most of the pitchers on that list are Dan Duquette “bargains” — and for those of you who weren’t living in the baseball Guantanamo that was Boston during the Dan Duquette years, Dan Duquette’s idea of a bargain is sort of like my boyfriend’s. “Hey, this is cheap! Let’s take it. Maybe we can use it. Yeah, it’s kind of broken…maybe a little smelly. And I’m not sure exactly what it is. But it’s just so cheap! How can you say no?!”
The point is (a phrase that’s a great crutch, by the way, if you suddenly find your prose has wandered off somewhere you’re not sure how to bring it back) that the pitchers Finn mentions here were cursed by epic sucktitude or extreme old-and-brokenness. Unfortunately, Mr. Finn has undermined the point he wanted to make — instead of successfully pointing out that not every single one of Varitek’s pitchers has become a Cy Young candidate, he has only reminded me just how bad some of the pitchers the Sox have picked up really were. I mean, why not put Eric Gagne on the list, too, dude? Was that Varitek’s fault? What about John “Way Back” Wasdin? Mike Timlin this year? Paxton Crawford falling out of bed? Ugi Urbina’s murderous rage? Yep, if Tek gets the credit for helping Jon Lester live up to his potential, then he should get the blame for what became of the ill-fated Ugueth. It’s only fair.
You cannot have the execrable and remarkably effective Boras as an agent and claim that you’re playing for the love of the game without being the very definition of duplicitous.”
No one goes to work just because they love it, with perhaps the sole exception of the taste-testers at the Hershey factory in Hershey, PA and nuns. Yes, Boras is reviled, but as Finn is so generous in pointing out, he’s also “remarkably effective” – which is why people hate him. But no one is forcing GMs to pay those salaries.
“Still, I’m simply dumbfounded that they’d even suggest that the starting point is four years and $52 million, at least not without a laugh track.”
It is a ridiculous demand. (And Posada’s contract was ridiculous to start with.) And that’s why, as far as I can tell, Tek has not generated much interest (though open season on free agents doesn’t start until Friday). But still, there’s no reason to slam on him for just asking. I mean, yeesh. I asked for more money when I was negotiating at my current company. I figured the worst that would happen was that they would say no. Does that also make me execrable and laugh-track worthy?
“I’m-a-team-guy-so-I’m-not-going-to-complain-even-though-I’m-complaining incredulity he showed when Terry Francona had the nerve to pinch hit for him in the postseason…”
Did I miss this? It’s true that I spent most of the postseason taking our puppy outside to pee, but still…
Trash Mo Vaughn…trash Nomar…trash Pedro…trash Derek Lowe…trash Keith Foulke…trash Johnny Damon? (okay, he deserved it)…trash Manny…trash Varitek? What’s next? Trashing Dustin Pedroia in 2012? Where do we draw the line? Yes, some of those players are douchebags, but surely not every player who happens to suffer the misfortune of leaving Boston is unmitigated scum. What has Varitek really done, other than get older, not hit very well, and ask (the UNBRIDLED TEMERITY!) to keep working? What should he and Boras have asked for? The league minimum?
UmpBumpers, what do you think? Is Jason Varitek really the new Evil Red Sox Player of the Month? Or are Boston writers just hurting for some he-said-he-said drama now that they don’t have Manny Ramirez to gossip about anymore?