Tek officially retired on Thursday; we all knew this was coming, so I’ve already written the tribute, although there are a few things I’d like to add. First, after initially doing so, he has since come to regret autographing photos of the A-Rod fight because he doesn’t want to condone that kind of behavior, which speaks volumes about his sportsmanship, professionalism, and awareness of his status as a role model. Second, Scott Boras reportedly did not allow other teams to make formal offers to Tek due to his knowledge of Tek’s allegiance to us; I’d expect that, for Boras, this must be some kind of first. Third, here’s a neat article containing the comments of some of New England’s who’s-who of sports journalism when we first picked up Tek; boy, does it take you back. Fourth, Tek was very thankful in his retirement announcement; he thanked everyone. He thanked his coaches, teammates, and fans as well as the brass and his family. Here’s a quote:
As I walk away from this game, I can look at the man in the mirror and be proud I gave everything I could to this game, this organization, my teammates. Once again, I just want to say thank you.
But he won’t be leaving the game completely; he’ll be taking up a position within the organization, which I think is an excellent move. To be a good catcher, one must inherently possess the ability to maintain a working knowledge of all aspects of the game, not just his own position. This plus the fact that he was a captain for seven of the fifteen seasons he played here make him an obvious choice for hire.
What’s funny is that a fan took a video during a clubhouse tour on Truck Day and saw that Tek’s nameplate had already been taken down. Lucchino’s explanation for this was weak, and so the fan already knew what would happen. What I liked best about this story is that the fan specifically didn’t post the video until after Tek made his decision.
Bobby V. has banned alcohol in the clubhouse and on charter flights returning to Boston. Tito then claimed that this was a PR move, which it isn’t since Bobby V. is known for having similarly banned beer in his previous managerial stints. First of all, it’s very unlike Tito to get involved in drama. Secondly, why are we still talking about this? Last season is last season; it’s done and over. Can’t we just move on already?
Maybe that’s what Bobby V. was trying to do when he put down Derek Jeter and praised Tek for the A-Rod fight this week. It certainly did draw attention. Obviously I agree with what he said; it’s just a little unusual to hear it coming from a manager. There’s a reason why there are fans and managers and why fans are usually not managers and managers are usually not fans. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of the biggest Yankee-haters out there, but I still want a manager who focuses less on the TV cameras and more on the baseball.
In the interest of not discussing drama anymore, let’s move to the Spring Training schedule, which officially started yesterday when we played Northeastern and Boston College in a doubleheader. Today, the Major League action begins with the start of a two-game series against the Twins. We’ve got the O’s on Tuesday, the Jays on Wednesday, and the Cards on Thursday. Then the Pirates and Rays, and we’re done for the week.
Here are some highlights from the results. We swept the college doubleheader as well as the two games against the Twins with scores of 8-3 and 10-2. Lester pitched two shutout innings against Northeastern. Beckett pitched two scoreless innings; he walked two, struck out none, and was caught by Salty, yet another indicator of the end of an era. In the 10-2 win, Buccholz pitched two scoreless innings; he walked two and hit one but struck out two and extricated himself from two sticky situations. Of his thirty-six pitches, twenty were strikes. He looks healthy and says he feels healthy. Ryan Sweeney picked up and RBI, and Papi hit his first homer of Spring Training, a solo shot.
Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association have agreed to expand the playoffs, effective this season. Each league will not send not one but two Wild Card teams to the playoffs; the two teams will have to go at it in a single elimination game. This is the first playoff expansion since 1994, and it creates the largest playoffs in the history of the Majors. It’ll certainly boost ratings and nail-biting, that’s for sure. It presents a double-edged sword. If this system had been in place earlier, we would have made the playoffs in the last two years. On the other hand, I don’t want to make the playoffs because the bar is continually set lower by a policy of increased inclusivity, and there’s always the chance that that other team is going to beat you before you get anywhere.
In other news, the B’s lost to the Sens, Isles, and Rangers but beat the Devils and signed Marty Turco.