(Please take a moment to cue up "Yesterday" by Boyz II Men, as you will need it for reflective background music as I begin my goodbye speech)
Jason made me fall in love with baseball. We didn't watch sports in my house growing up. I had zero exposure to the world of baseball. My dad wasn't a sports fan and my mom (a closet sports fan) followed his lead. When I was 18, the guy I was dating suggested we watch a baseball game. I agreed, mostly because I wanted to impress him. And then there was Tek. One look, I was hooked. I can't explain it. He hit a home run in the very first game I ever watched. For some reason, with my complete lack of knowledge for the sport, I didn't expect that catchers were able to hit. Tek hit. I fell in love. From that moment on, I needed to know everything I could about the novel concept I had just witnessed. Baseball. Imagine that.
Fast forward eight years. I know I said I'm ready for Tek to not be on the team any more, but I'm not. I'll never be ready. I want him on the team, I just don't neccessarily want him playing! That's not too much to ask, right? We've got a bunch of guys on the team who didn't play last year and a bunch more who won't be playing this year. We give THEM money. We let THEM show up to the park. Sign Tek for league minimum and give him unneccessary surgery!
If our GM or our manager or our Larry Lucchino think that Kelly Shoppach is the answer to anything other than 'who is a worse offensive and defensive catcher than a 40 year old Jason Varitek,' they are either fooling themselves or they are morons. Honestly, I do not see a single upgrade in Shoppach other than he's not 40. He's not even good looking. We got rid of him for a reason back in the day. If anyone in the organization honestly believed that he was worth retaining, they wouldn't have traded him to begin with. Theo held on to his favorite minor leaguers with an iron grip. We didn't believe in Shoppach then, and I have less reasons to believe in him now.
I understand wanting to save money, but do we really have to downgrade at positions? I'm not liking this. Bringing back Ortiz was a gesture of good faith to the fanbase, but you've got to do better than Shoppach. In case I haven't mentioned this, I hate Shoppach.
But, if this is goodbye, Jason, I want you to know that I cherished every moment of our time together. My well-worn Varitek jersey will never be retired (not until it is literally falling apart beyond repair) and I will support you no matter where you may end up. My heart breaks at the thought of you leaving. I know I was distraught when Mikey left, and we hadn't shared as many moments as you and I have, Jason. I thought we were in it for the long haul, but I guess fate has decided to tear us apart. Maybe in some other capacity, we can be together again. I'll never forget you, oh captain, my captain. Now please give me a moment. I think I have something in my eye.