Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tek Talk

So the Captain is back, and that's a good thing. Jason Varitek will be behind the plate in 2009, calling the pitches and handling the needs of his pitcher(s) of the day. Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona is happy about his return, too...

“It makes our lives . . . easier knowing he’s back there putting those fingers down.”

And how does Varitek feel about once again donning the Boston uniform? This is part of what he had to say...

“I am ecstatic that I’m a Red Sox. I’m ecstatic that I have the peace of mind knowing that I’m going to be in this uniform. I get closer to retiring in this uniform. I’m not saying that I’m retiring any time soon, but it allows me that opportunity.”

OK, I've heard and been a part of so many conversations discussing the positives and negatives of having Jason on the team. I couldn't be any happier...the pitching staff couldn't be any happier. His teammates? The same thing. He will work extensively with team hitting coach Dave Magadan to try and tweak his left-handed batting average upwards. He's fine when batting from the right side of the plate, but his left-handed average last year was only .201. That's not acceptable. Here's Tito on that subject...

“I know he’s going to work with Mags,” Francona said. “Right-handed, I don’t think we’re looking for any adjustments. Left-handed, I think . . . he has a lot of moving parts left-handed. He’s always going to. It’s easier for him to maintain his swing right-handed. That’s always been the case.”

Here's what I think will happen this season. Tek will bring his batting average up to .268 and once again be a force defensively behind the plate, communicating with his pitcher(s) as only he can. And I couldn't be any happier. What's good for the Boston Red Sox pitching staff is good for the Boston Red Sox.

Click on this post's title for more about the team. Have a great Sunday, go #1 UCONN (women AND men), and as always, BE WELL.


At 2/15/2009 12:03 PM, Anonymous johnbee418 said...

Peter, in spite of several small differences in our philosophies, we agree on much. And especially I like your rooting for the UConn Women's basketball team. That alone saves you considerable time from purgatory.

The thought occurs that, exciting as spring training is, maybe we might indulge in some preparatory mental exercises before the season begins. For example: (just for fun, now, OK?)

Bases loaded, any inning, no outs. Batter hits slicing fly ball down the left field line. Runner on 3rd is tagging up. Runner on 2nd thinks it will fall in so he streaks toward 3rd. Runner on 1st goes half way.

Left fielder makes a great, below the waist catch, but is not able to throw to the plate because he's moving fast and is directly on the foul line and behind the runner. But, the fielder sees the runner from 2nd scampering back to the bag. Fielder throws behind runner and his throw beats the runner. Double play. (Whew, all that running and I'm out of breath here). Runner on 1st gets back safely. Runner from 3rd scores.

OK, here's the problem. How do you score that play? Does batter get credit for an RBI? Is batter charged with a Time At Bat? Is it a Sacrifice Fly? Is the run an Earned Run? Does the runner from 2nd get sent back to the Minors?

Oops, forget that last one. I let my quasi-managerial feelings get away there for a second. In any case, what say you, Peter? Any comments from the myriad readers of your column? Are we up to this on a lazy Sunday?

At 2/15/2009 4:58 PM, Blogger Peter N said...

Hey, put on a clinic in the first half. The game is on's halftime and ESPN2 is juggling games, but when the 2nd half starts, we'll be there. Ch. 30 on Comcast.
I'll read the rest of your comments and answer them after the second half. Right now, it's 4:58. Thanks...Pete

At 2/15/2009 6:40 PM, Blogger Peter N said...

That's a possible double play at Fenway...the left field line is an easy throw for the guy in left. YAZ?
Even if not, the runner would be out at home.

That's where the baseball would be thrown.

No RBI. It all depends on how the umps see it. It always does.

Thanks JB.

At 2/15/2009 6:55 PM, Anonymous johnbee418 said...'s a double play, without question. The question is, is it a Sac Fly? Is it not, and therefore a time at bat? Is it an RBI? The run scores, but is it an earned run? And should we keep the second base runner in the lineup or send him to Pawtucket? And why don't so many people like Hazel Mae? I think she's wonderful. A helluva lot more articulate than Tom Caron and ten times prettier. Finally, am I a macho jerk?

At 2/16/2009 6:33 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Lastly first, no, you're not. You're a savvy baseball nut who loves the Red Sox.

The runner on third would be out at the plate (that's where the throw would go in Fenway Park...short throw, easy out). and the guy who is blindly running for second would also be a dead duck. No sac, no RBI, no runs scored. Who cares what the guy on first will do, but he'd scamper back to first.

At 2/16/2009 6:35 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

And yes, Hazel Mae is prettier than ANY guy on the planet.

At 2/16/2009 6:37 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

"...and the guy who is blindly running for second..."
I meant FROM second. So sorry.

At 2/16/2009 10:54 AM, Blogger Bosox Fan in Wichita said...

Sorry I'm late to the conversation, but I had to throw in my 2 cents. JB says the runner on third scores because the left fielder can't make a good throw to the plate. That's a sacrifice fly, the batter gets an rbi, it's an earned run and no official at bat.
The runner that is out trying to get back to second base is out because of a base running error and the out is no way connected to the batter. It's like a strike'em out, throw'em out - the batter isn't faulted for a double play.
Oh, and the runner that is out at second doesn't get sent down, but is chastised severely and changes shoes for better traction.

At 2/16/2009 12:50 PM, Blogger Peter N said...

Hello BFW...better traction...maybe golf shoes? Funny line!

I still don't think ANY runner trying to tag up from third right in front of Fenway's small leftfield will EVER score. That's just my take on it. It's such an easy out, even Manny (ick) could do it. YAZ made a habit of nailing running runners. HE WAS THE BEST. Doubles off the wall were almost not possible when he was patrolling our leftfield. Runners were dead 10 meters from the 2nd base bag...Dewey too, in right. He was the best outfielder I've EVER seen. Number 24...Dwight Evans forever.

No way anyone scores. Just my opinion...I love the Sox.

At 2/16/2009 12:51 PM, Blogger Peter N said...


At 2/16/2009 1:01 PM, Anonymous johnbee418 said...

Alright, BoSox Fan In Wichita, good answer. I don't have the slightest idea if you're correct. I'm not an official scorer. But your scenario sounds good. By the way, back in the day, I was a working, first class machinist (aerospace), had a friend in Wichita who loved the place, and who convinced me that I and mine should move out there and settle. I took a week, bus-rode out there, dropped into four of the aircraft factories, obtained sureties I'd be hired, came home and preached the beauty and flatness of Kansas.

That summer, the good wife and two of our youngest drove out to the plains so they could see for themselves. First day there, we four plus our friends, went to a Dairy Queen for soft ice cream cones. The walk back to the cars was about 25 feet. When we got into the cars, all seven of the ice cream cones had melted completely, run down our arms, dripped on our legs, and forever ended the dream of moving to Wichita. The temp that day was 105F, but DRY. No humidity. I kept trying to convince the good wife that all we had to do was never buy Dairy Queens in the summer. And not run or move fast.But, I digress.

As for the run in our little charade, whether it's earned or unearned depends on how the runner reached base. But BFIW has sewed the scene up quite well. Does anyone want to try another? Let me know. Waiting for the season to start has me all frizzy and jumpy.

At 2/16/2009 2:52 PM, Anonymous girasoli said...

Ahh, but if Johnny Damon was playing left field the runner could have easily scored. I would agree with Bosox Fan in Wichita that it would be a sacrifice fly and a base running error for the guy on second.

I have a comment or a question about Tek. This might be stupid but if he hits better righty, then why doesn't he just hit from that side. I understand about the switching sides depending on the pitcher, but it does not good if he always gets out when hitting lefty.

At 2/16/2009 3:27 PM, Blogger Peter N said...

Girasoli, if Johnny was playing left, I could have scored! About TEK, he's been a switch hitter all his life. It would take so much to change his natural instints. Great comment.

JB, I still say that any outfielder with one working arm could throw out a runner from third from FENWAY'S LEFTFIELD, up the third base line. It's so much smaller than it might appear on TV.

Now you got me in the mood for a Dairy Queen cone, darn it! Too much sugar for my diabetes, but I can dream.

Thanks all.

At 2/17/2009 10:43 AM, Blogger Bosox Fan in Wichita said...

OK Peter, let's say the scenario takes place in a different ballpark.

JB, good point on how the 3rd base runner got on base to qualify as an earned run. I liked the story of your visit to the Air Capital. We still have those 105 degree days, but now with lots of humidity; that way the sweat washes the melted ice cream off your arms and legs. That is, if the wind doesn't blow your ice cream out of the cone first.

I like girasoli's idea of Tek always batting from the right side. How much worse could it be? Here's another idea - give Tek a lot of practice bunting from the left side. That way when we have a guy on 1B with less than 2 outs, he could at least avoid the DP.

At 2/17/2009 4:18 PM, Blogger Peter N said...

I think it would be tough for "Tek" to change his batting habits. I'm hoping he can.


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