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Random thoughts from the airport in LA

January 30, 2009

First things first.

You don’t have the next Johnny Bench in the wings, you do have some prospects that might potentially be catchers of the future, but you want to win a world series in 2009 and your best possible chance to do that is with Jason Varitek catching. I’m happy for Tek. I wish it would have gone differently but as a friend/fan of his I do know that the process, and the salary will have no bearing on his effort or passion to be as good as he can.

I always enjoy being a customer of good businesses run by good people, with employees that seem to enjoy doing what they do. I have to mention two companies I was a customer of that both left a great impression on me this past week.

I flew SF to LA on Virgin America Airlines. Every single person we ran into from the gate ramp to the plane, to landing and off the plane was beyond kind. A few went out of their way to say hello and have a great day. I love that stuff.

We rented a Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and it was as smooth and quick and easy a customer experience as I’ve had in awhile. It was another company with people that truly seemed to be enjoying their jobs.

I am now a customer of both companies and will use their services over others when I have the opportunity. Oh and neither of those companies is or has paid me a dime to talk nice.

So to the team that flew us to Anaheim on Virgin, and the Enterprise folks at LA and SF, thanks for the nice week. You made the trip bearable.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Ed M permalink
    January 31, 2009 9:56 am

    Interesting thoughts though I’ll pass on the airline and car rental portion. As for Tek, I too am glad that the negotiations finally ended up keeping the Captain here in Boston. Seems that Boston history frequently repeats itself when it comes to losing sports icons at the twilight of their careers (i.e. Bobby Orr, Esposito, Trot, Carlton Fisk…) As for the money, well lets put it in perspective. No, it’s not the $10.5M they were seeking but then again in this market even $5M is a wad of cash! A school teacher recently told me that she has a masters degree and taught for over 25 years and never made a million dollars! You know, that tells us all something. In general, most professional atheletes are paid an insane amount of money for their efforts. “For theLove of the Game,” I think not. It’s love of the bling by both the players and the agents that has put many pro sports players out of touch with the reality that the rest of us face. I do believe that we should all be rewarded for our efforts but what is the value of these efforts? Is a fighter pilot that earns $50-60K a year as valuable as a middle reliever making $6.5M? Both require a God given talent and continued hard work and both have a limited life cycle! When are pro ballplayers going to realize that they are significantly overpaid for their efforts. Yaz made $150,000 at the peak of his career and that number horrified people (granted that was in the late ’60s) and today that would be the equalivent of about $1.5M but think about it. What happened? And to hear a player like Pedro say that he is disrespected because the offer was less than the $16M he wanted…it’s appaling.

    I do believe that the hardest thing for a MAN like Tek to swallow was that he had given his all for this team and was awarded the honor of being named team captain only to find that he is facing a substantial pay cut as a reward. From the owners perspective, they employed what every owner should and that is cash for performance. In the real world, in corporate America, a dropoff in production as witnessed in Tek’s case could and likely would end up in dismissal. I for one think that production is based on physical condition as well as emotional well being and God only knows that Tek went through a lot facing separation from his family and ultimately facing divorce. That alone eats at a mans soul regardless if he is trying to enjoy a meal or facing a 92mph fastball. I think that Tek’s off year was very much tainted by his personal life and can’t be held against him…cept that it was a contract year and management is basing salary on production. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Unfortunately for Tek, it was a bad year for everything to go wrong and hopefully he will earn every dime of the incentives put in his contract. Red Sox nation is proud and thankful to have him back. Hopefully he will be here until he feels he has had enough fun playing baseball…For The Love Of The Game!
    PS: Nice to see Manny getting his just deserts!!! Maybe KC could show him some R-E-S-P-E-C-T?!!!

  2. Elvis Elvisberg permalink
    January 31, 2009 9:59 am

    Y’know, every Sox fan loves Varitek, and has since the second Duquette traded for him. And it’s darn difficult to quantify how a guy handles a staff, but he’s in the very top echelon in that category to this day. It’s great he’s going to stay.

    But, man, why did he have to hire Boras?

    I could understand it last time around, when his value was at its highest (think of the deal Suppan got after his postseason heroics, and Varitek had a better track record). Drive a hard bargain, make sure his great grandchildren never have to work a day in their lives. Fine.

    But this time around? Honestly, wouldn’t he have decreased his lifetime value if he’d managed to sneak a few million extra out of some other team? As is, he’s a hero here forever, can make a car ad in 2020 and pay his kids’ tuition. Wouldn’t have been been the case had he wrapped up his career elsewhere. Did he really think it was worth risking all that good will? Did he really think the Yankees or somebody might give him $12m over two years? And that that would have made his life better?

    Obviously, it’s no skin off my nose if Varitek makes a dime instead of $8 million in the next two years, so this is really easy for me to say. But it just doesn’t seem like it was a great decision. Anyway, we all luck out, it worked out in the end. Hats off to Theo, yet again.

    I’ve had very good experiences with Enterprise as well, on the other side of the continent. Never flown Virgin, but JetBlue has DirectTV at every seat, which is pretty much the greatest technological innovation of the past 25 years.

  3. January 31, 2009 10:21 am

    I completely agree about Tek. I was frustrated he chose to opt out of Arbitration for the potential of more money but I am glad to see he is back with the Sox for another season. You can speak better than most to the point of how valuable Tek is to the success of the Sox pitching staff. We will need strong pitching this year in order to deal with the Yankees revamped lineup and another strong lineup from the Rays. The 2009 season is right around the corner.

    GO SOX!!!

  4. Jim permalink
    January 31, 2009 5:27 pm

    Uh, Curt:

    You’re a celebrity of sorts. You don’t think the Virgin/Enterprise employees didn’t go ever so slightly out of the way just for you?


    Not one bit. They treated every passenger the same way I was treated, which made it even cooler. Never intruded or imposed and were incredibly polite, courteous, respectful and smiling. Great company with great people.

  5. DeniseSoxFan permalink
    January 31, 2009 6:23 pm

    “So to the teams that flew us to LA and SF…” I am certainly hoping that the teams were not the Angels, Dodgers, or Giants! Please say you were there on 38 Studios business!

  6. Mike permalink
    January 31, 2009 6:25 pm

    Curt, im somewhat bothered by the comment about his salary having no bearing on his effort. As a pretty down to earth guy, I’m surprised you made that comment understanding that 5 million dollars for a years worth of work is more than 99% of US citizens amass in an entire lifetime. Not to mention just coming off a 40M deal. Should we applaud him for having to live with 5M when he and his agent are the ones to blame? I dont pretend to know you and I do respect you immensely but is it possible you are unable to look at this JV situation without bias? You write about this guy as if he is in his prime and is the greatest catcher who’s ever lived. Your writing on this story seems extremely slanted and based more on friendship than reality. Keep writing interesting stuff but why dont we call it a day on this story. JV 2009- 228, 8, 31. About 4M too much…

  7. Tom F permalink
    January 31, 2009 7:35 pm

    Let me get this out of the way – I’m a Yankee fan. Sorry guys for intruding.
    I would have been happier if the Sox lost Varitek because he makes them better. As an opposing fan I understand the way he handles a pitching staff and gets his team going as a captain. I remember the way he pimp-slapped A-rod a couple of years ago and I thought to myself – I wish we had a guy like that on the Yanks.
    This season will be a good one but I still think the Sox are the team to beat. Our Yankees still have a lot to prove and there’s no gaurantee that the new guys will adapt to NY quickly, not to mention our OF fiasco. That said, we should be compettive and keep the rivaly alive another season.

  8. bill permalink
    February 1, 2009 8:12 am

    no they didnt pay you, you just got the flight and the use of the car free

    You work in the media? Seems to be the same % of facts in your posts, which is 0

  9. Dori permalink
    February 1, 2009 12:02 pm

    Love the comment from the Yankee fan…I am just hoping that the Nation doesn’t hold Boras against Tek. I for one couldn’t be happier. There is no other uniform that he belongs in and I know he will work harder and more intensely than ever. Long live the Captain!

  10. Mike permalink
    February 1, 2009 5:02 pm

    If I were the Sox, I would have offered less. Congrats to both sides for finding a middle ground they could both agree on. If he truly has something left in the tank, maybe he’ll get another deal in two years. By then, hopefully, we’ll have some metrics that can help analyze whether or not his plate-calling actually has the impact that you and others believe it does. Though, preliminary studies don’t look good for him (

  11. February 1, 2009 7:01 pm

    I am quite pleased that Jason is back. Personally, I think he’s being sorely underpaid – but that being said, I’m just happy he’s back.

    And, I’m glad that you had a great experience with Enterprise; I did not in my last exchange with them. But I’ve heard awesome things about Virgin, so that doesn’t surprise me one bit. 🙂

    Oh, did I mention how happy I was that Jason is back? 😉

  12. Sean permalink
    February 2, 2009 10:49 am


    Very happy the captain is back! AND, if those ‘other teams’ are trying to get you to pitch for them this year, good for you and them. I would be very happy to see you pitch this season, even if it is for another team. Since there is not any room with the Sox, of course I would much rather have you in the NL so the Sox do not have to face you, but imagine the ovation you would get at Fenway even still? I definately could see you doing well with either LA team or SF…Good luck. And yes, I like Enterprise too. Never flown on Virgin.

  13. BaseballinDC permalink
    February 2, 2009 5:20 pm


    Thanks for the kind words about Virgin and Enterprise – rare to hear someone of your stature praising ordinary people and NOT get paid for it!

  14. June 22, 2009 6:12 pm

    Me too!1

  15. August 28, 2009 4:58 pm

    Iam happytoo.

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