A lot has been said about Mike Lowell being such a stand-up guy this spring and how amazing it is that he hasn’t slapped Larry Lucchino upside the head with a pair of nylon stockings filled with pudding. And I agree that Scenic’s been doing things the right way while the club decides his fate for 2010.
But there’s another guy who’s been doling out the good vibes when he could very well have gone postal, and that’s Jason Varitek.
Lambasted by the fans (::raises hand:: guilty), harpooned by the media, and linked romantically to Jerry Lewis (like many a Sox catcher before him), the guy could have shown up in Fort Myers with a bandana, crossbow and fifty metric tons of TNT.
Instead, he’s been quietly doing the sort of things you’d expect the captain of the team to be doing: Accepting his diminished role, quietly cashing the checks, and making sure his replacement knows the pitching staff like the back of his hand. It’s a point brought home in a Globe piece on Sox catching instructor Gary Tuck:
Tuck assigned Martinez and Jason Varitek to work together, and the two are in constant communication. The Red Sox believe these six weeks will improve Martinez’s catching and handling of the pitching staff after he parachuted into the middle of a pennant race last season.
“There are always things you can improve on. With Victor, it’s just the overall game, improving techniques in every phase,” Tuck said. “He’s embracing it all.”
The presence of Varitek helps as well. He is essentially educating the man who took his job.
“He’s a Red Sox, No. 1. He cares about this team more than anything else and he cares about people,” Tuck said. “Victor knows Jason is there for him. It could be a hard situation otherwise.”
To paraphrase Jack from Lost, in the AL East, it’s “live together or die alone.” Tek understands.