By Terry Cushman – @AVIDBOS_PODCAST
Credibility: Varitek served as the primary Red Sox catcher from 1997 through 2011. He guided three pitchers to no-hitters. Played an integral part of virtually every significant Red Sox pitcher’s career during the World Series runs. Despite being retired by the 2013 World Series, Lester, Lackey, and Buchholz were all caught extensively by Varitek in the years leading up to the 2013 Cardinals rematch. Understands every facet of the game. Was the first team Captain in the 14 years since Jim Rice retired, and is universally respected by everyone. Nobody else has officially captained the Red Sox following Varitek’s retirement. Not even David Ortiz.
Stern Leadership: If Alex Cora were to decide on Varitek, he will have the benefit of having a no-nonsense figure in the clubhouse to basically do his “dirty work.” This could range from having players like Hanley Ramirez getting their act together, to addressing unsteady on-field performance. He was always the steady hand on this Red Sox team who lead by example, and will provide the balance they so badly struggled with in the wake of Torey Lovullo’s departure to Arizona.
Muscle: It’s no secret that this Red Sox clubhouse has more than it’s fair share of players who are no stranger to controversy. It is also a team which has struggled with taking accountability, all the way from the players to the front office. Varitek will effectively reign in guys like David Price when he chooses to lash out at the media members or celebrated hall of famers, not to mention cleaning up incidents such as the Pedroia-Machado debacle. Varitek’s immortal reputation among the Fenway Faithful will prevent the biggest personalities in the clubhouse from trying to set their own phony narratives during tough stretches or controversies, as well as ultimately keeping those players honest. Varitek can’t be defeated in a battle of public perception, and every Red Sox player knows this.
ICYMI: EPISODE 21 OF THE AVIDBOSTON PODCAST! THE ALEX CORA WORLD SERIES EDITION!
Also available on iTunes!