Jason Varitek Retirement News Conference Live Blog: ‘I Can Never Articulate How Much Red Sox Mean to Me’

by NESN Staff

March 1, 2012

Jason Varitek Retirement News Conference Live Blog: 'I Can Never Articulate How Much Red Sox Mean to Me'

End of Varitek Retirement: A very sad day, to see such an important player in the Red Sox history make his retirement from the team and the game official.

The captain will clearly be missed by many all throughout the game of baseball, fans and players alike.

Varitek remained very somber, yet energetic throughout the entire news conference.

It's quite clear that the team and the Red Sox organization are very grateful for the 15 seasons that Varitek played in Boston. But Varitek was equally as gracious and appreciative of his time.

Overall, a classy guy and fantastic player that members of Red Sox Nation and people all around the game of baseball will remember for many years to come.

6:28 p.m.: "I don't know where it got instilled in me, but my job out there was to make a difference."

6:26 p.m.: Varitek thinks back on all the greats he's caught over the years.

"There's been glimpses of different people all the time. From my first year — Saberhagen with his fastball to Curt (Schilling), who was a lot like that. And Pedey – those years with Pedro (Martinez). Now with Lester, Beckett and Clay (Buchholz)."

"They're so unique, each one of them (pitchers)."

6:25 p.m.: Varitek reflects on 2004 World Series.

"The more you were here the more you felt that these people hurt and that people thought something bad was going to happen every year."

"Finally we did it. That piano, that Babe Ruth piano weight was lifted off our back."

6:24 p.m.: Varitek isn't sure what he's going to do post baseball.

"What I want to do I don't know. It's the commitment you've had to have for so many years, to step back and not have that it's going to be different."

6:23 p.m.: "The itchiness (to play) didn't feel so bad until I stepped on the field and saw the guys."

6:22 p.m.: Varitek said, "It's not a snap reality. Once you start adding the X's and O's of it."

"I talked with Ben and thought about it. I want to retire, but I don't want to retire once."

6:21 p.m.: Varitek, looking a little more comfortable, reflects on his time.

"I can never articulate how much this place and this team mean to me."

"It's a relief now that this moment's over."

6:20 p.m.: Jason Varitek joins Tom Caron and Jerry Remy for a more in-depth conversation.

6:12 p.m.: Gonzalez continues to reflect, saying of Tek's retirement, "Varitek and Wakfield are two guys that had a great impact on this team and will be sorely missed in that clubhouse."

6:09 p.m.: Gonzalez says, "When you retire you don't want to feel like you left something out there. I know when he was out there last year, he gave it his all."

6:07 p.m.: Adrian Gonzalez reflects on his time with Varitek.

"He's a guy, who knows the game and loves baseball. You can tell he really knows the game so well.

"He really cares about his teammates as much as anyone I've ever been around."

6:02 p.m.: Jerry Remy describes Varitek as "the type of guy and leader that you want to wear the captain's "C" for your team."

"He's clearly very loved by guys in this clubhouse. You can see the love and admiration for him from this crowd."

6:00 p.m.: Varitek leaves the podium and immediatelly is met by both Larry Lucchino and John Henry with open hands welcoming the captain.

5:59 p.m.: Varitek caps off his news conference with a smile and a nod to all in attendance.A very emotional day for a very stoic ballplayer.

5:58 p.m.: On reaching out to Jorge and their impact on Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

"We've been fortunate to sit on the other side for 14 years. You see a lot of games and you butt heads quite a bit."

5:57 p.m.: Talking about confrontation with A-Rod.

"It was just about being a teammate. It's nothing about the fight, it's just about sticking up for my teammate."

5:56 p.m.: "I don't know if there's one thing I'll miss most. Catching the final out in the 2004 World Series sticks out."

"I'll miss it all really. Catching the no-hitters and the little things that's what I'll miss."

5:55 p.m.: "It became really weird (walking in to park's as a non-player)."

"I love being able to play, I love the competition on the field, the chess game behind the plate. It's not easy."

5:54 p.m.: "What convinced me not to do it (come back) is what is best for me and my family."

"I continued to train, because you never know what is going to happen… But ultimately I decided to retire."

5:53 p.m.: Varitek is planning to just enjoy the simple things in his life now post baseball.

He is hoping to find a way to stay involved with the Red Sox, though.

5:51 p.m.: "As I walk away from this game I can look at the man in the mirror and be proud of what I gave to this game, this organization and my teammates."

5:50 p.m.: Varitek addresses his daughters with a smile and a laugh.

"You've made going home so much easier and more enjoyable."

5:49 p.m.: "My teammates. It's what I'm going to miss most.

"The hardest thing to do is to walk away from your teammates, and what they've meant to you over the years."

5:48 p.m.: Varitek is really not leaving anyone out of his retirement speech. The man is clearly grateful for everyone's impact on his career.

5:46 p.m.: Varitek thanks Terry Francona for his friendship and guidance over the years.

"Tito thank you for allowing me to sail next to you and captain this team to two championships."

5:45 p.m.: A clearly gracious Varitek singles out each and every person, who has had an impact on his career.

"I want to thank Mr. Henry, Mr. Werner and Mr. Lucchino for always keeping me a Red Sock."

5:44 p.m.: Varitek expresses thanks for all the people who have helped him succeed in the game of baseball over the years.

He expresses his most gratitude to his parents saying, "Mom and Dad, you guys are my heroes."

5:42 p.m.:"The opportunity to both start and finish my career in one place is the most important thing to me."

5:41 p.m.: "After months of deliberating on what to do I decided it was best for me and my family to retire."

"This has been probably the most difficult decision I have made in my career."

5:41 p.m.: Varitek approaches the podium as stoic as ever.

He appears very emotional and expresses his gratitude for his teammates.

"This has probably been one one of the hardest things to go through, and to have you guys here (teammates) it really means a lot."

5:40 p.m.: Werner sheds the spotlight on Varitek's charitable work.

"You have been an inspiration to us both on and off the field and you will always be a member of the Red Sox family."

5:38 p.m.: "You have not only been our captain, you have been our rock," Werner says of Varitek's time in Boston.

"We thought you we the owner," Werner said. "You did own that clubhouse."

"You were a leader everyday… teammates knew it and opposing players knew it."

5:37 p.m.: Tom Werner kicks off the retirement news conference.

Werner calls Varitek "One of the most loyal and respected men to wear a Red Sox uniform."

5:35 p.m.: Jason Varitek emerges from the JetBlue Park dugout with his family by his side and preparing for the time to announce his retirement.

5:25 p.m.: Varitek joins current and former teammates at brand new JetBlue Park in Fort Myers as the captain prepares for his final day as a member of the Red Sox.

8 a.m.: "Oh Captain, My Captain! Rise up and hear the bells," says Walt Whitman in his famous poem. 

Red Sox captain Jason Varitek will follow suit on Thursday, as the catcher is finally putting away his catcher's mitt and walking away from the game of baseball.

After 15 big league seasons in Boston, Varitek has reached his peak as a baseball player and is ready to retire.

Varitek achieved many accomplishments during his lengthy career behind the plate, among them include catching an all-time record four no-hitters, being selected to three All-Star teams and winning two World Series.

Tek may not have had the greatest offensive numbers or been an imposing force at the plate, but he was consistent and reliable. He hit .256 with 193 home runs and 757 RBIs during his 15-year career.

The captain, as Varitek has proudly worn the "C" on his jersey since 2005, has provided an unparalleled advantage for Red Sox pitchers over the course of his career as he became widely known as the best at calling games from the catcher's spot.

The veteran catcher will announce his retirement on Thursday night at the Red Sox' new spring training home, JetBlue Park, at 5:30 p.m. Live on NESN.

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