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."
Of the 34 players on the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot, 19 are tied to the Red Sox or New York Yankees. Who deserves a nod this year?
Click here to view the gallery
FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week.
"We were reminded of that," receiver Chris Hogan said. "I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room."
Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.
"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."
Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."
"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."
Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.
"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."