FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Jason Varitek, a three-time All-Star, retired as the all-time Sox leader in games caught with 1,488, passing Carlton Fisks 990 in 2006. He caught a major league-record four no-hitters one each by Hideo Nomo, Derek Lowe, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. He was the first Sox catcher to win a Silver Slugger, in 2005 when he also won his only Gold Glove Award.
One of the enduring images of his career, however, will be the face-mashing he gave Alex Rodriguez on July 24, 2004.
I was just being a teammate, Varitek said. It wasn't something that you're proud of. We've been down this road talking with my kids. I was just being a teammate. Things were going on and being said to my teammate and it just happened to happen that way.
He no longer autographs pictures of the incident.
It became ongoing as soon as the first day my oldest daughter Ally, now 12 . . . said, 'Oh, Daddy, look: It's the picture of you fighting again, he said. I was like, 'Maybe I shouldn't sign that.'
Varitek's father discussed the incident Thursday after the retirement announcement and had slightly stronger feelings than his son.
"I'm not a fan of that picture."
New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has now missed five kicks on the year, including field goals against the Miami, Buffalo and Cleveland.
In an emergency podcast, Tom E. Curran speaks with Chuck Zodda of Inside The Pylon about Stephen Gostkowski’s kicking woes.
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The Jets’ quarterback situation took a comically typical turn Monday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center after an MRI revealed that Geno Smith has a torn ACL.
After starting New York’s first six games of the season, Fitzpatrick was demoted to backup for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Smith was injured on a sack by Baltimore’s Matt Judon, forcing Fitzpatrick back into action.
After leading the Jets to a 24-16 win, Fitzpatrick made his dissatisfaction with being benched known.
“The biggest thing in this game in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said in his postgame press conference. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with before. That’s something I’m dealing with now.”
On the season, Fitzpatrick has completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,561 yards with six touchdowns and a league-leading 11 interceptions.