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."
Dr. Tony Schena joined the show to give insight into what lies ahead for Rob Gronkowski. He said a tough road is in front of the Patriots tight end.
We discuss the improbable win over the Browns and the loss of Rob Gronkowski with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday.
Ninkovich sits in with Mut and Merloni to look back at yesterday’s comeback win against the Browns. Rob also explains the range of emotions the team experienced after Rob Gronkowski suffered a potentially season ending injury.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Cherington sits in with Mut and Lou to talk about the Red Sox heading into 2014. Ben breaks down the signing of Edward Mujica and what’s on the table at this year’s meetings.
Rob Bradford joined the show and talked about the activity on day one of the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Rob told the guys the Sox are in a good spot and plan on waiting out the Stephen Drew market.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Boston College running back Andre Williams joined the show and discussed his record setting season. He said that he will work on his acceptance speech on the flight down to New York.
Mike Mutnansky joined the show live from Orlando. He said that he is looking forward to hearing from Scott Boras later today.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys talked about our presidents selfie at the Mandela memorial.
Millar sits in with the guys on location in Orlando at MLB's Winter Meetings. He covers all the bases with Mut and Lou on all the Red Sox free agent possibilities and potential trades.
Former Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia chats with Mut and Merloni about his decision to join the Miami Marlins after hitting free agency this winter. Jarrod also talks about his relationship with the Red Sox during his time in Boston.
Kurkjian joins Mut and Merloni at the Winter Meetings to talk about the Red Sox plans on the market. Tim believes the Red Sox are not satisfied with their situation in center and are looking to add a veteran outfielder to the mix.
We discuss the comers and goers for the Red Sox and the rest of MLB with former GM Steve Phillips, now of MLB Radio on Sirius XM.
Ho, hum. We're live at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, and it seems like everything of merit was done last week. We still discuss the Sox roster moves and potential for 2014.
We tackle four topics at 4PM, today centered around sporting disasters.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. He discussed the new love between Evelyn Lozada and former Red Sox player Carl Crawford.More from this show
Kurkjian joins Mut and Merloni at the Winter Meetings to talk about the Red Sox plans on the market. Tim believes the Red Sox are not satisfied with their situation in center and are looking to add a veteran outfielder to the mix.More from this show