In 1968 Andy Warhol, said that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.“ and thanks to the exponential increase in the speed of media, it seems that fame allows just a single image.
For Jason Varitek it will be the “Mitt Moment.”
The now iconic image of him shoving his mitt into A-Rod’s puss captures the essence of the man who was close to his pitchers and, when some batter threatened one [Bronson Arroyo], they knew that Captain Tek would put his body in the breach. It was a Boston/New York moment, when the historical rivalry boiled over into a full blown donnybrook and Varitek was the metaphor for the pugnacious “we don’t back down” image of the Red Sox.
Bobby Valentine described him as “a man’s man” and Varitek was a player who was the “strong, silent type,” a man you could count on to “step up to the plate” and lived by the axiom that “actions speak louder than words.”
There was A-Rod, the poster boy for the millionaire martinet, taking umbrage, though he was barely nicked by the pitch, a curve ball, mouthing off, dropping the F-bomb and threatening Arroyo, verbally; but, when he moved toward the pitcher, Varitek immediately got in his face with his mitt and stood his ground and shoved the mouthy menace back on his heels.
When asked about it at his retirement ceremony, he said it was not about fighting:
“It was just about being a teammate. It’s nothing about the fight; it’s just about sticking up for my teammate.”
Whenever fans mention the name Varitek, they will smile and recall the “Mitt Moment” and re-tell it–with relish–and, like all baseball stories, it will grow like a snowball rolling down a hill. Baseball, more than any other sport, records its history in statistics, images, stories and, now, even on U-Tube videos, where Varitek gets over 2 minutes of fame:
NOTE: At about 55 seconds, “Mitt Moment.”