The Young and the Catcherless

Soap operas seem to be the topic du jour lately, so allow us to engage in this sordid tale.

Jason Varitek, as we all know by now, is seeking a new contract, but no one wants him. His agent, Scott Boras, recommended he reject the Sox' offer of arbitration, likely costing him millions, and since then, the Red Sox have had some dealings with Boras that seem to have left relationships frosty.

One place where relationships reportedly have been anything but frosty is between Varitek and NESN reporter Heidi Watney. Some have even claimed Varitek's much-ballyhooed divorce was caused by the, um, tension created by Varitek's relationship with Watney. 

So how surprised were we to learn that while the Globe was receiving terse texts about the Atlanta-area meeting between Varitek and Sox owner John Henry and the Herald received uninformative telephone quotes, none other than Watney herself was landing the scoop about how the meeting went down? Well, not very.

Among the tidbits Watney dug deep to get:
  1. Varitek wants to retire a member of the Red Sox (of course).
  2. He wants a multiyear deal, but the money's not important (of double course). 
  3. He realizes he shouldn't have rejected arbitration, but that he didn't realize it meant other teams would have to give up a draft pick (seriously?) 
  4. He's a very loyal person (just ask the former Mrs. Varitek!), so he won't fire Boras (what's countless lost millions — don't forget the year lost to the post-draft holdout! — when you've got loyalty?). 
  5. There are three (highly unlikely, not really worth mentioning except Scott told Tekkie to tell me what they were) options by which Varitek could play next season without teams giving up a draft pick.   

Oh, and the Red Sox weren't returning Boras' calls, so Varitek decided to take matters into his own hands. File that one under, "What comes around, goes around." Or is it what goes around, comes around? It's so hard to keep things straight when you're watching the soaps.

34 comments… add one

  • We mostly stayed away from the A-Rod/Madonna shenanigans here, partly because they had no impact on anything to do with Alex’ contract or status with the Yankees. It was touched upon in humorous fashion, for the most part, as it is hard to ignore Page 6 (and Alex). And Alex and Madonna made no secret of their dalliances, at least those that occurred outside the bedroom: they weren’t that discreet about appearing in the same place and discussing their friendship. Even so, we pretty much stayed away, the divorce is a serious issue and was not to made light of, a family is being broken up.
    The Tek/Watney affair is only alleged. Tek went through what must have been a painful divorce last year, and it was a private affair. I wish it had been left at that. I find the allegations that Watney got a scoop because she has slept with or is sleeping with Varitek to be beneath this site.

    SF January 19, 2009, 6:46 am
  • Neither of those links seem to have any evidence other than “passing along a rumor”, so we shouldn’t put too much stock in it. However, it would be a shame to see this rumor spread and Watney get fired over it.
    This isn’t the first time Varitek has been at the heart of team rumors; at the end of 2004 there was the rumor that OCab slept with Tek’s wife, and Tek demanded that OCab not be resigned. I think I remember there being steroid rumors in the 2006 season, though I can’t back that up.
    In any case, at least Varitek didn’t give a hot starlette herpes.

    Atheose - SF January 19, 2009, 7:53 am
  • Pardon the French, but what the f$%# does A-Rod have to do with this thread?

    Rob January 19, 2009, 8:07 am
  • SF’s covering himself in case people say “But you guys discussed ARod-Madonna!”

    Atheose - SF January 19, 2009, 8:17 am
  • Just moderating, guys. The Tek “news” is relevant, that’s not in dispute. Whether he is sleeping with a reporter and speculating that it has impacted that reporting is not. Until there has been a legitimate disclosure of an affair then it shouldn’t be wrapped into this. Otherwise we are trafficking in innuendo and I think that is pretty damn inappropriate.
    As for A-Rod, yes, it was a high-profile situation involving divorce. But the divorce was in the news, as were the dalliances, and they were brought up here. And even then we basically stayed pretty far away from it. Their relevance to baseball was tenuous. This isn’t “covering myself”, I resent that intimation – I don’t believe I posted about the A-Rod goings-on (I couldn’t recall posting, and a search of the archives – cursory – seems to bear out my memory), it was mostly the YF contingent at this site. If I had gone on and on about A-Rod then the accusation of “covering myself” would be fair. In fact, I’d be a hypocrite. But it’s not. This is about our site and the contents of this site , not about any one author.

    SF January 19, 2009, 9:11 am
  • http://www.yfsf.org/2005/01/derek_stacy_cou.html
    http://www.yfsf.org/2007/01/derek_and_gabri.html
    http://www.yfsf.org/2005/08/the_jeter_meter.html
    Just saying. Granted those rumors are from the journalistic bastions that are the NY tabs….

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 9:27 am
  • Jeter is single. He’s in the gossip pages. He’s a gossip icon. And the NEWEST one of those posts is from two years ago, eons in the life of a blog.
    There’s also a subtext of chauvinism here, I have to say. That Watney wouldn’t get a story if she weren’t sleeping with an athlete. Nevermind the fact that she’s the Sox’ lead sideline reporter on the team’s network. Nope, she’s shtupping the source, that’s why she got it.
    True or not, and we have no clue (and therefore no reason to hurl accusations), this is not a great way to present baseball news.

    SF January 19, 2009, 9:39 am
  • “This isn’t the first time Varitek has been at the heart of team rumors; at the end of 2004 there was the rumor that OCab slept with Tek’s wife, and Tek demanded that OCab not be resigned.”
    Wasn’t there a movie about this? I think Corbin Bernsen portrayed Tek. What ever happened to Corbin Bernsen?

    Nick-YF January 19, 2009, 9:47 am
  • I find the allegations that Watney got a scoop because she has slept with or is sleeping with Varitek to be beneath this site.
    Is it fair game if it’s true?

    Rob January 19, 2009, 10:14 am
  • There’s also a subtext of chauvinism here
    Please. This allegation would make more sense if the Globe’s best reporter weren’t a woman, or if NESN had a track record of competence in any aspect of their Red Sox coverage.
    Given that I’ve publicly praised Benjamin for her excellent work, I think we can put that canard to bed. It’s frankly ridiculous to even raise it.
    Heidi Watney came to Boston with the reputation of being all looks and no brain — from her job in Fresno and coming east with a cadre of complaints that she knew nothing about the sports and teams she was covering. I canceled my DISH Network subscription shortly before her arrival, but given the substance of that report on Varitek, I can’t say I disagree.
    Did she get the report because she’s dating Varitek — who is also single, by the way? Obviously, I don’t know. But she didn’t get the report because she’s a good reporter who’s respected for her in-depth investigative skills. She’s not a good reporter, and she is not respected — unlike Benjamin or Jackie MacMullan or Karen Guregian.
    We can debate the appropriateness of drawing this connection, but I’m going to debate the point that that my post was so obviously beneath this site given previous mod posts about Jeter and his many rumored loves, A-Rod and Madonna, etc.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 10:30 am
  • It’s always nice to be reminded of that derek-stacey thread; i think that’s still receiving comments!
    It seems to me that when a player’s relationship becomes tabloid fodder, than it’s acceptable for us to reference it, though that’s not what we’re about here, save for the occasional humor piece, which is fine.
    this situation is a bit different. if watney does have a relationship with varitek, and if varitek is negotiating through her, than it seems to me fair game for discussion. the line about varitek’s loyalty vis-a-vis his wife, i think, is unfair. on a more substantive note, i think this is the first place i’ve seen boras attacked for the holdout by a sox fan. certainly he had a right to hold out, and it served him well in the long run!
    just my 2 cents.

    YF January 19, 2009, 10:37 am
  • if watney does have a relationship with varitek, and if varitek is negotiating through her, than it seems to me fair game for discussion
    if, if, if. How many “if”‘s before we actually exercise some critical restraint? It’s all speculation, and about something we know almost nothing about. This may not sound different then us discussing trade rumors, winter meetings, etc., but it is. If you can’t recognize the difference between speculating about possible transactions and extramarital affairs that affect families, then that’s messed up.
    And the subtextual sexism really bothers me. I imagine nobody pays attention to the relevance of an affair to the reporting when male reporters (purportedly) f*ck around with their sources.

    SF January 19, 2009, 10:43 am
  • i think this is the first place i’ve seen boras attacked for the holdout by a sox fan. certainly he had a right to hold out, and it served him well in the long run!
    I don’t deny that it’s Boras right, and that perhaps it works for some clients, but I wonder how well the holdout served Varitek. Had he not held out, he’d have (presumably) reached free agency in 2003 (after his 25-homer season) and 2007 (a decent rebound year). Coming off his 2007, he would have easily received a multiyear deal for close to the same annual salary. That takes a little bit of assumption, but I don’t think it’s a stretch. I don’t know the terms of the deal Varitek ultimately received after the holdout, but I doubt it makes up for the likely loss of $20m+ between the contract he could have received last offseason vs. this one.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 10:44 am
  • I imagine
    There’s some unintentional irony that in the paragraph after SF criticizes a post for having too many “ifs,” he launches his second paragraph — about “subtextual sexism” — based on an “I imagine.”
    If male reporters are f*cking around with their baseball player sources, believe me, that would be pretty big news.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 10:46 am
  • I don’t see what your respect for Benjamin has to do with anything. What does making a crack at the expense of Varitek’s ex-wife have to do with anything?
    There was a better way to connect the speculative dots here, Paul. Style matters.

    SF January 19, 2009, 10:50 am
  • “If male reporters are f*cking around with their baseball player sources, believe me, that would be pretty big news.”
    Not that there would be anything wrong with that!

    Nick-YF January 19, 2009, 10:50 am
  • And what if a Sox beat writer is f*cking around with the catcher’s wife? You want to speculate about whether the “brotherhood” would protect their own?
    This post should have been about Varitek, negotiating through the press, Boras, etc. Not about Watney and Tek’s supposed affair or the pain of his ex-wife.

    SF January 19, 2009, 10:52 am
  • I don’t see what your respect for Benjamin has to do with anything
    It has everything to do with where you’ve brought this discussion.
    Not that there would be anything wrong with that!
    Of course! But if there’s anything the tabs love more than a sex scandal, it’s a gay sex scandal.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 10:53 am
  • where you’ve brought this discussion.
    Right, where I have brought the discussion. It was your bullshit inclusion of a rumored affair and a crappy joke about Varitek’s wife that made any of this even relevant. Blame the reader, not the writer of the original post. How convenient.

    SF January 19, 2009, 10:55 am
  • Not a fan of Seinfeld, Paul?

    Nick-YF January 19, 2009, 10:55 am
  • Right, where I have brought the discussion. It was your bullshit inclusion of a rumored affair and a crappy joke about Varitek’s wife that made any of this even relevant. Blame the reader, not the writer of the original post. How convenient.
    Ignoring the unnecessary tone of your comment, I fail to see why I should not respond to your accusation that I am either chauvanistic or practicing in “subtextual sexism.” You raised those points, you made the discussion personal, and I responded with examples to show that I am, in fact, neither of the things you allege. I think you understand this, which makes it especially frustrating to be debating it with you.
    Not a fan of Seinfeld, Paul?
    Sorry, Nick. Love Seinfeld and tried to respond in a similarly humorous fashion, but I don’t think I did very well.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 11:02 am
  • Sorry SF, my choice of phrasing (“covering himself”) wasn’t meant to be a jab at you, just genuinely trying to explain why ARod/Madonna was even brought up. I think that I used your name instead of “YFSF” may have confused things a bit.
    Paul, you citing your respect for Benjamin is sort of like when Sarah Palin said “I don’t hate gays! I have a gay friend!” Having said that, I don’t think what you said was chauvinist at all, because (like you said) Watney does not have a lot of respect as a reporter. She sure is nice to look at though.

    Atheose - SF January 19, 2009, 11:02 am
  • Sarah Palin said “I don’t hate gays! I have a gay friend!”
    Did anybody say Palin hated gays? The question was about her position on gay marriage, to which she dissembled about her gay friends without really answering the question.
    If the question was, “Do you hate gays?” Then the fact that Palin has a gay friend would be evidence that she does, in fact, not hate gays. Unless she hates her friends, which would be another strange issue entirely.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 11:08 am
  • SF, who pissed in your cornflakes this morning? You seem to be getting uncharacteristically upset and defensive regarding Varitek/Watney. There have been plenty of light-hearted rumor-based posts before, and it seems to be a slow news day, so what’s wrong with a little speculation? Hell, sleeping with Watney should raise Varitek’s average to .270! I know I’d be more relaxed at the plate.

    Atheose - SF January 19, 2009, 11:08 am
  • Hey Paul, cut me some slack for misremembering the situation ;-)

    Atheose - SF January 19, 2009, 11:09 am
  • Dang it! I left off the Humor tag! All this angst for nothing!

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 11:10 am
  • Paul:
    What does Tek negotiating through the press (Watney) have to do with the supposed affair? That’s what I want to know. Whatever came out via Watney is worth discussing. That she is not a day-to-day beat reporter who has covered the team, like Benjamin, in the trenches and in the locker room and beyond her capacity as an in-the-stands reporter is also relevant. Scott Boras being shoved aside for a direct meeting with Henry is relevant. But why or how Watney got the information is irrelevant, to me. I don’t see what it has to do with this, or with Tek’s “loyalty”. Tek’s claims, via Watney, may be patently ridiculous on their own. That he may have had an intimate reason to express them to her is of no relevance to me.
    I certainly don’t believe you are a chauvinist or sexist, by any means. That doesn’t change my opinion that there is some chauvinism and sexism in how you’ve presented this story.

    SF January 19, 2009, 11:11 am
  • What does Tek negotiating through the press (Watney) have to do with the supposed affair?
    I disagree. We have no problem calling Gammons, sadly, a shill for the organization. When a “reporter” breaks “news” about a player she’s been romantically linked to, that’s certainly fair game. Reporters need to be trusted but trust is built over time, through many breaking stories and their reporting. When someone seemingly skips to head of the line, we should question their motives/angle.

    Rob January 19, 2009, 11:23 am
  • What does Tek negotiating through the press (Watney) have to do with the supposed affair? … But why or how Watney got the information is irrelevant, to me.
    This is where we differ. I find the why and how much more interesting than the information she actually reported (except for that tidbit about the Sox snubbing Boras, which is very telling, I think). If Benjamin got this story, or Massarotti, or McAdam — hell, if Jacie MacMullan came out of retirement to break this story — I wouldn’t have blinked.
    The fact that it was the one reporter in all of Boston rumored to have been sleeping with Varitek — a reporter who arguably should not have as good a relationship with the players as the beat writers, and one who is not considered even to be an actual good reporter — is very suspicious. Obviously, the issues with this would be manifold: The Red Sox employ both Varitek and Watney, for starters, aside from the whole source-reporter objectivity question. I didn’t want to be a scold over some Internet rumors, so I went the lowbrow-humor route, as has been done here before when discussing tabloid material (search [Jeter herpes] here, for starters, though granted that’s never been in a mod post).
    The one liner about “the former Mrs. Varitek” is certainly not intended to take advantage of her pain. He’s the one who filed for divorce, and the rumors about his private life — apart from specific names — have been persistent enough to become common knowledge around the Web (for what that’s worth). It reeks for Varitek through Watney to talk about how “loyal” he is.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 11:30 am
  • If Watney and Varitek did indeed have an affair, shouldn’t be out of a job like yesterday? I’m naive about these things, but these rumors started in August or maybe earlier. If there’s any truth to them, wouldn’t NESN have done an inverstigation and sent her packing lest the network’s credibility would be hurt?

    Nick-YF January 19, 2009, 11:34 am
  • Except that, well, we don’t even know if this is true. It might be. It might not be. Hence it’s irrelevance. If the story is true, it’s relevant. If it’s not true, then what?
    In the meantime, all you have are links to internet rumors from August. Anything more recent?

    SF January 19, 2009, 11:35 am
  • The basic point: Watney breaking this “story” is highly suspicious. It’s the combination of reporter and reportee that’s unseemly, given the rumors.
    I don’t think NESN has much credibility (like YES and WGN). If anything, I could see them keeping Watney around exactly because she’d be in position (pun absolutely intended) to report news like this.

    Rob January 19, 2009, 11:42 am
  • Obviously, we don’t know. Internet rumors are just Internet rumors, but are they any worse than the unsourced Page Six stuff we have posted here before?
    What, for example, is the relevance of Derek Jeter’s love life to anything he does on the field, yet we have done a number of threads on him. Yes, he’s single. So is Varitek. He can date, give scoops to, whatever he wants with whoever he wants. It’s strange and suspicious who he gave this particular scoop to, given the rumors.
    If the difference is that Varitek was once married, and that the rumors cite Watney as the source of some of the marital problems, I find that to be a fine distinction in relation to YFSF’s previous forays into the tabloid world.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 11:45 am
  • I’m almost completely on board the OP’s last comment with the exception being the quip about loyalty.

    Rob January 19, 2009, 11:45 am

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