BOSTON - For six years now, the best off-season tradition in baseball has been the Winter Weekend of the Boston Red Sox. Billed as a fan convention/hype festival for the new season/pseudo-press conference of sorts, Winter Weekend 2020 took place over the weekend at the MGM Springfield.
However, in the wake of the massive cheating scandal that has rocked the baseball world and continued to unfold, there was a definitely dark aura hanging over the event, which was supposed to be a celebration. It can certainly be hard to celebrate, though, when the team just parted ways with manager Alex Cora, who was implicated in the entire kerfuffle with the Houston Astros.
But there were still a few moments of levity to be had at Winter Weekend 2020, even if no major team decisions were made. (Players like Brock Holt, David Price, and Mookie Betts remain in limbo for the upcoming season and the Sox still do not have a manager, after all.)
One of the top takeaways from Winter Weekend was how much momentum the narrative has gained for Jason Varitek, the former captain and catcher of the Sox, to become the team's new manager. Chants broke out in support of Tek as the leader of the ballclub and, according to Jon Heyman, Varitek is receptive to the idea. In the past, his name has been floated as a potential candidate for manager, but he downplayed the idea in favor of serving as a special assistant in the front office. But now, Heyman reports that Varitek is "willing to consider managing" because he is "beloved in Boston." I certainly wouldn't be opposed to Tek as the manager.
In another major sound bite that came away from Winter Weekend, Boston's designated hitter J.D. Martinez iterated his confidence that the Red Sox will be cleared of any potential wrongdoing during the 2018 season.
"I'm excited for the investigation to be over with just so that they can see that there was nothing going on here...Straight up, everyone seems to forget that in 2017 and 2016 this team was a really good team. This team won 93 games those two years and then we just got better," Martinez told reporters.
They are confident words from Martinez. I trust they'll be able to come to fruition after the MLB concludes their investigations.
In the meantime, the Red Sox should give Betts all the money he wants and they should re-sign Holt and they should probably try to acquire some pitching help. But I know this is all just wishful thinking. There are quotes to be given to the press, after all!
Image via Wikimedia Commons