One day after formally announcing his retirement during a press conference at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Jason Varitek joined the Mut & Merloni show to talk about his future, his captaincy and last year's disappointing finish.
Varitek said he hopes to remain with the team in some capacity, but it may take some time to determine an appropriate role.
"Obviously, I'd like to maintain and make sure that I am a part of the organization someway, somehow," he said. "Trading ideas of how that may transpire, we haven't gotten that far to where I can sit down and talk to Ben [Cherington] and get there. But there's desire on both sides to figure something out and for that to happen. I do love the game. And I do love the fact that I know that there's still a lot I can give to the game -- and learn from the game. But how that transpires, it's going to take some time. I still wanted to play. I've got to make sure that when I change roles I'm mentally ready to accept a different role."
Asked about last year's collapse -- specifically the role of pitcher Josh Beckett -- Varitek expressed frustration with the focus on the past.
"I'm surprised that this is still a topic of conversation. It shouldn't be," he said. "These things, they go on and on. And there's no one person. Everybody wants someone to be a scapegoat. They want me to be a scapegoat because maybe I didn't do enough in the clubhouse. Or [Terry Francona] to be a scapegoat, maybe he didn't do enough in the management. Maybe Josh was the one pitcher that didn't do enough with the pitching stuff.
"The fact of the matter is we didn't play good baseball. We had plenty of meetings making sure we were trying to get on the same page, and we were all on the same page. And everybody's heart and desires were pushed in the right direction. We didn't perform well. And it comes down to you don't perform well, you don't get the result, it looks like a different story. So you look to point blame in areas that maybe that's not where the blame was. The execution wasn't there."
Varitek said fans should instead be looking forward to what a talented Red Sox team can accomplish in 2012.
Said Varitek: "I'm just surprised the excitement of what that team now has to offer -- moving [Daniel] Bard and [Alfredo] Aceves into the rotation, and some of the additions, and getting people healthy, and [Adrian Gonzalez] coming off a full winter of not having to deal with the shoulder surgery, you have different things. This team can be an exciting team to watch. You've got a new manager. You've got different newness, a new GM.
"You can't do anything about how the end of last year ended. That's what I think. You have a new team. This is 2012. It's time to enjoy this team and what they have to offer."
The Red Sox captain since 2005, Varitek talked about what it meant to be recognized that way.
"It meant that an organization and management -- whether it be managers, general managers and the organization -- felt highly enough about the way I conducted my work and went about my work, my training, and the things, the intangibles that I was able to do, that they honored that with putting a 'C' on my jersey," he said. "It wasn't something I was comfortable with. Then things wear on, and that's where it's an honor because that's where they want to mold their organization, is that that's how they want people to conduct their business. For me, it was a great honor. And it didn't change who I was and what I did. If anything, at different times I had to learn to talk more when I wasn't quite used to it. I'm just extremely honored that they gave me that honor."
Earlier in the day, Varitek joined "The Hill-Man Morning Show" on WEEI sister station WAAF and suggested that there's an obvious candidate to take over as captain. "That's easy. That's Dustin [Pedroia]," he said.
Following are more highlights from the Mut & Merloni interview.
On the emotion he showed at Thursday's press conference: "I had the hardest time with it of trying to get my thoughts together and getting them down on paper. Every time I'd read something I put down you'd get an emotional again and then you get lost. And then it's a different part you put down, you get emotional about that. It wasn't easy."
On former pitching coach/manager Joe Kerrigan, whom Varitek did not acknowledge during his speech Thursday: "I may have left Joe Kerrigan off there. Joe has been a part of my development as a catcher. Sometimes it's not always an easy development; you butt heads. And sometimes that's how you grow. But I learned so, so much from Joe, in his tenure that he was here."
On Terry Francona's stress level during last year's collapse: "I think that the stress of everything -- nobody was the same. Because that unfolded quickly. I wouldn't say the last month, but the last maybe few weeks. I think from top down it was a whole different stress level as this was coming down. … With Tito, he still went about his business of trying to make sure this ship is centered. And that's no different. We didn't have the same results by player performance more than anything."
On working with Jarrod Saltalamacchia: "You have different gifts. I had a gift to where I could put myself aside and truly work with somebody. You're going to developing your own way, and you're not going to give him the Holy Grail of advice, but we all run into different complications, different issues, different ideas. And if somebody knows you're there supporting them, and you're there not to undermine them, take their job, to do something, then you develop trust. I'll have a lifelong friend in Salty. And I look forward to him taking another step closer to being a great player."
Greg and Chris talk with Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston in hour 2 of NFL Sunday to discuss a variety of offseason happenings with the Pats and throughout the league. Greg and Chris also get into the NFL Draft and where Mariota and Winston will go.
Mike Reiss calls the guys to talk about the offseason news for the Pats. He talks about the Pats/Jets tampoering fiasco, free agency, where he sees Ridley and Connolly ending up, if the Patriots would be interested in Reggie Wayne and more.
In the first hour of the show, Greg and Chris discuss the news coming out of the owners' meetings this week and rule changes. Belichick's blow-up over the league not wanting to spend on endzone cameras was well documented and the guys react. They also talk about the Jets ridiculous tampering charges, free agents still lingering out there, where Stevan Ridley will land and the RB position in New England. Dickerson and Price briefly discuss the adventures of Tom Brady before being joined by WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia to talk all things Pats in the offseason.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Joe and Alex talked with the Sox AGM about the state of the team as Opening Day approaches.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Peter Chiarelli joined the Sunday Skate crew to talk about the Bruins playoff push heading into the final handful of games of the regular season. Chiarelli talked about avoiding some of the overly negative feedback he gets while realizing that the team does have real issues. He discusses what went down at the trade deadline and if he was happy with the outcome, Lucic having a down year and underperforming, the salary cap and if he considers it as big of an issue as it's been made out to be and what the future holds for the team.
It's a big hour #2 for the Sunday Skate dudes - they talk about the B's defenseman and what the future looks like at that position, with both moves the team can make and younger guys in the AHL. They also get into the Bruins philosophy on bringing guys up and sending them back down and how players deal with that. Finally, the boys are joined by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to discuss EVERYTHING.
The Sunday Skate crew gets the show going discussing the Bruins big, impressive victory over the NY Rangers yesterday. What can you take from that game? According to LB - Lyndon Byers - who called the guys from the road, not a lot. LB drops a dime on what was going on with the Rangers yesterday. DJ and Joe discuss Claude's lines and groupings and the importance of Ryan Spooner. They also get into Lucic, his contributions this year and if he can turn things around.
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The guys opened the show by discussing the latest news on Boston 2024.
Michael Holley comes in for the crossover, and continues the discussion with Tim over what will happen if the Patriots face any type of punishment for the deflated footballs in the AFCCG.
With the Wells report seemingly wrapping up (we hope), Tim and Lou got to talking about possible fines and punishments the Patriots must face. It's possible that the Patriots will face a small fine, but should they take that laying down? The conversation brings out a little passion from BOTH sides.
Jackie Mac talks about the Celtics win over the Hornets last night and their chances of making the playoffs.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton discuss Robert Kraft's testimony and the Hernandez trial overall as it continues to unfold.
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Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
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Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Kirk's massage and crap all over Sausage.
Ben and Adam finish the odyssey that is the history of Wrestlemania. Wrestlemanias 21-30 are discussed and analyzed.
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