Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino was on MLB Network Radio’s “Inside Pitch” on Sirius XM yesterday and Alex Speier of WEEI.com was nice enough to transcribe it for everyone.
Lucchino spent a good chunk of the interview downplaying the absurd notion that the Red Sox are suddenly cheap, but he also confirmed that the club has offered spring training invites to both Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield. They’ve yet to hear a decision from either player.
“We’re hopeful that those guys will make decisions before spring training starts as to whether they would like to come back. They have each been invited to come to camp. But Tim is approaching his 46th year I think. Jason Varitek is approaching his 40th year. Those things are hard decisions. They have both been enormously valuable to the club,” said Lucchino. “Whenever they choose to retire — and retirement is inevitable at some point, obviously, whether it’s this year or its next year — we will always have a place of respect and admiration in the Red Sox organization. But the decisions are now kind of in their hands as to what they’d like to do in this particular season.”
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe on Wednesday that he hopes to have a definitive resolution with Varitek and Wakefield by next week. Neither player is a fit on the current projected roster, so odds are we’ll have some retirement pressers on the agenda real soon.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.