Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Gamebreaker

At 9:07 PM Wednesday night, I was driving home from Wendy's Old-Fashioned Hamburgers and heard a familiar refrain on the radio that, at a certain point during the How Youz Doin Baseball era, ensured certain offensive futility matched with justification with intangibles. That's right, Kryptonite by Three Doors Down was on the radio. However, last year, Jason Varitek didn't exactly win my good graces, but he did put together a productive season of major league baseball.

Much more productive than his 2009, 2008, and much of 2007. Jason Varitek, Backup Catcher is a very good backup catcher. When you only hear Kryptonite 10 times a week, the player's legs stay fresh throughout the season. There are no months when he hits .120 and strikes out 25 times. He provided value to the baseball team and stayed off of my rag-on list. Combining that with above-average production from Victor Martinez, and the Red Sox' catcher position went from a liability to an asset.

Now Jarrod Saltalamacchia is penciled in as the starting catcher. Not sure whereabouts I read it or heard it last night, but it sounds like this is not going well. And this didn't really hit me until I heard Varitek's walkup music tonight. The guy who realizes it's not hockey might end up being the starting catcher on this team. Imagine if Jason Varitek ends up getting 300-325 at-bats this year. Not good, because he's really only good for about 200 at-bats a year. I have a strong feeling that from at-bats 201 and beyond, Varitek's batting average is .175 at best. (My apologies for not actually looking this up - the 2008 version of me would have.) It's like Pedro Martinez 2003 after pitch 105.

If Jarrod Saltalamacchia can't provide a trustworthy level of production on both sides of the ball, the Red Sox' catching position could be a serious, serious problem. Not that I think this will make the Red Sox an 85-win team. But if Saltalamacchia is below-average and unreliable enough that Varitek requires more than 200 at-bats, the team's catching position will revert to its 2008 level. A scary proposition. The only Varitek any of us - including Varitek himself according to his recent NESN appearances - want to see from here on in is Varitek, Backup Catcher.

I've been a huge proponent of the Red Sox getting Saltalamacchia since right around 2008. Now they have him. Time for this guy to justify my years and years of lobbying. He's 25. Time to live up to the hype. Because listening to Kryptonite tonight was a novelty.

It should stay that way.


Patrick said...

the real question here is - is dv on this site now just like jason varitek, backup catcher? now the main difference is that, if dv still had the time, he could pump out 5+ showtime posts per week. but he doesn't have the time, which is where the comparison comes in. without turning this into a full-fledged roast, the biggest example of time restraining his ability to produce quality posts at the same rate he used to was when he ripped the giants bullpen as terrible during the world of the best bullpens in the game in 2010. in 2007-2009 this never would have happened. so maybe 2007-2009 dv is 2003-2005 jason varitek. you could rely on them everyday for very good (varitek) or elite (dv) production. and maybe dv now is varitek now. less is more. you play (varitek) or post (dv) too much, and the overall quality suffers. you play or post less and the quality goes up in a major way. it took a while for varitek to adjust to his role and buy into this rationale, and maybe it will take some time for dv as well. that appears to be the case as since his declaration that this space is scaling back, he's attempted to post four times per week including on holidays. it's like varitek fighting his age before finally giving in. when will dv give in? we'll get some indication tomorrow on "as the blog turns" when there either is or isn't a new post

Anonymous said...


Was Tank your ghost writer on that comment? Because that was outrageous and borderline irrational but i definitely enjoyed it.

Is DV the Varitek of the blog? Not directly the question PF was asking, but an interesting question anyway. Let's investigate further.

For DV to be the Varitek of this blog, there would have to be some sort of unreasonable sentiment that DV being around made the rest of us better at blogging. People like TimC would have to say, "When I first got into the blogging world, DV's experience and advice really took me to the next level."

Meanwhile other people like Kaplan would have to say things like, "I'm not commenting unless DV posts," etc. etc.

There would also need to be someone to fill the role of Joe Buck, someone outside the blogging world looking in, that would agressively overate DV and talk about how great he was all the time.

Finally, for DV to be the Varitek of the blog, he'd have to actually suck at blogging, in spite of everything i just mentioned above. This is really where the analogy falls apart, because for the most part he does a great job.

So if we had to compare DV's blogging performance to a Red Sox player who would it be? I would say Youkalis- An All-Star performer that you can tell is a little bit (or alot) crazy and probably has a short fuse if you poke at him the wrong way.

Anonymous said...


Sox catcher is a question mark. We don't know what to expect from it, other than that if Varitek is the full-time guy then it will a wasted spot.

That said, if the biggest concern Boston has with it's line-up is whomever is batting 8th and 9th, then I don't think there's a lot to worry about offensively.

The bigger issue is going to be the health of guys like Pedroia and Youkilis. If they bounce right back, the offense should be tremendous. But if they have lingering effects or just aren't where they should be, then that's going to put a ton of pressure on Crawford/Gonzalez/Ortiz to do all the heavy lifting and I don't know if that's a position many Sox fans have contemplated.

--the Gunn

Patrick said...

here's a better question bandi: when i've already posed a ridiculous analogy, why would you create another almost identical one instead of just answering the first?

i liked the analysis nonetheless.

Anonymous said...


Fair point. Though simply answering your question wouldn't allow me to show how witty and clever I think I am. You should know by now that I'm very self-focused.

the gm at work said...

I'm not sure where the unsolicited personal attacks came from, and I'm also not sure why in the last week I've gotten a gloating text message from Pat about how wonderful it was not talking about baseball, followed by a condemnation of the language I use yesterday, followed by straight-up criticism for posting on a regular basis?

I mean, this is an assassination of my lifestyle here. Just because you spend the extra time in your life talking about how difficult law school and the bar exam are, it also means I should just JD around and let your one-paragraph "post" about a sixth-place basketball team sit there like a piece of meat next to a window on a warm afternoon, waiting for the flies to gravitate toward it, instead of contributing something of substance? You're telling me to stop posting when I have the ability to post? It didn't really rub me the right way last week when you were crushing me for producing content instead of a fleeting paragraph every week, but this one put me right over the edge. What is this, an ill-conceived corporate blog? Give me a break. That's garbage.

As far as my language goes, I rarely drop F-bombs here. I may use "suck" seven or eight times over the course of a post, and other than jokes about your unnecessary excitement about non-contending college basketball teams, I've kept things pretty PG-13 around here. Not sure why you're bringing family into this, especially considering the fact that I was talking about my mom's reader status, well, literally eleven days ago.

The World Series posts were sloppy and pathetic. Yup. I said that myself three weeks ago. Was this post either of those things? Perhaps, because I didn't look up Varitek's batting average after 200 at-bats. You just decided to take a ten-minute break from your strenuous study-24-hours-a-day schedule to go after me for no reason. Awesome.

Are the Yankees doing spring training this year?

Patrick said...

dv -

i hope you know that i was kidding about each and every one of the things you're mentioning here. i'm sorry that you took it as an attack, but i don't think any of us would attack anybody else around these parts. this website is not remotely that serious, and i certainly wouldn't be able to call you out and take myself seriously considering my acknowledgement of my own relaxed effort in posting, something i thought would definitely be implied. you're content the last three weeks has been nothing short of outstanding, and i've been getting a kick out of that in light of the fact that we made a public announcement that we were scaling back and you've actually stepped it up yet another notch. not only is this obviously your prerogative, but i've been enjoying it, evidenced by the thesis i wrote in yesterday's comments section tying two of your recent posts together. my "countdown" until there is no post for a day is meant to be nothing more than fun considering we said approximately three posts per week and have kept usual pace since. not only is it fine by me if you write 10 posts per week (obviously), but my bringing attention to the fact that you've kept pace, while in ribbing fashion, is also meant to serve as a hat tip of sorts to you that you're keeping it going. i didn't think this, or making a ridiculous comparison to you and one of your least favorite red sox of the last five years, was off limits, and again i apologize that you took it more seriously than it was intended. my fault.

as far as the language, i think if you know me you know that was sarcastic. similar to the above, i was just tying together something you said recently (that your mother reads) and a subsequent action (calling jd drew what you did) that didn't match up in a way that i got a kick out of. i meant no ill will by this whatsoever, and if it was inappropriate to make that joke i'm most sorry for that.

in all seriousness, keep up the great work. i'm taking full advantage of scaling back because i feel like it, not because i don't have the time. in fact, i have plenty of time, so i'm not sure what all the chatter from you about me talking about how busy i am is all about, as i really don't talk about being busy ever (since it hasn't typically been a reality for most of the last two years), so therefore don't do so in this space. there will be a time in the near future when i'll be very busy, and then will not post out of necessity. for now i choose not to post because i don't enjoy doing it that much, but i've already told you all of this. we agreed to take a different approach, posting as much or as little as we wanted. so i'm really just needling you, i would never actually have a problem with you simply doing what you said you were going to (posting as much as you wanted).