(Photo from the Improper Bostonian)
What I wouldn’t give for footage of Jason Varitek standing on top of a Gatorade cooler all Norma Rae style, holding a sign that says “Bullpen Catchers Are People Too.”
And this is part of the reason I love this team. They stand up for each other and for those members who really have no leverage. Of course Major League Baseball was going to cave in and pay the training staff and coaches to go to Japan. It would have been a nightmare if they didn’t. (Curiously, when I was talking about an international incident, I was thinking more along the lines of Papelbon getting stuck in a capsule hotel bed or Pedroia being crushed by a sumo wrestler). But the Sox knew they had the upper hand in this one and they called MLB’s bluff. Good on ya, Sox.
This bit of organized rebellion on the part of the Sox even made Keith Olbermann’s countdown last night as he dubbed MLB one of his Worst Persons in the World. (Greta’s raging crush on The Olbs dictates that we must watch Countdown every night). And Terry Francona wants us all to know that this had nothing to do with the players being selfish. On the contrary, actually, it had everything to do with them NOT being selfish. Granted, some of them didn’t want to go to Japan anyway but I’m willing to bet that some of them don’t enjoy flying into Tampa Bay and playing a series on a glorified putt-putt course three times a season either but they do it. Anyhow, I approve of them throwing their weight around in this manner. Though really, none of us should be surprised. Weren’t these the same guys who bought their bullpen catcher a truck? Nice boys, the lot of ’em.
Also, this goes a long way in supporting my theory that part of the reason Varitek has been so chipper and happy-seeming and, well, robust these past couple of years is because the presence of Mike Lowell means that Tek doesn’t have to be the only adult. Lowell shoulders some of that burden and takes the grown up responsibility frequently so Tek can be free to worry about his pitching staff and even have some time to punk the Josten’s ring guy. And really, isn’t a Happy Tek the Best Tek?
So the Sox are off to Japan where, undoubtedly, some translation snafu or cultural shenanigans awaits. Good times!