Alex Cora: "Yeah, I know -- Lowrie, Lowrie, Lowrie. Don't worry, AC. I won't allow Theo to let you go. You complete me."
Jason Varitek: "Tek, I know you were ticked off the first time I pinch hit for you, and the second time I did it, well, you looked like you wanted to take a crack at me with your Louisville Slugger. But let's be honest: Had you tried it, chances are you would have missed my head by a foot . . . maybe a foot and a half. It's hard to admit the truth, but deep down, we both know it, Tek -- you're not the hitter you were, and you never will be again. But believe me when I say I can't emphasize enough how much you mean to us. The Jonny Lesters and Justin Mastersons look up to you, and the veterans swear you're the best catcher they've ever thrown to; the numbers next to your picture on the scoreboard don't matter to them. I hope you come back, Tek. You mean more to us than you would to any other team -- your legacy is here. You belong here, and you should end your career here. But just remember this -- you ever try that passive-aggressive, I'm-a-selfless-guy-so-I'm-not-going-to-complain-even-though-I'm-complaining routine again, and I'm going to send Magadan up to hit for you. Or worse, Casey. You may be the captain. But I'm the boss."
Julio Lugo: "Hey, Loogie! Good to see you, ol' buddy! Lookin' good. What brings you around here? Retirement going okay?"
Jacoby Ellsbury: "Here's what you need to do, Ells. Buy a batting cage. Change the setting on the pitching machine to 'low inside fastballs.' Don't leave the cage until it's time to report to Ft. Myers. You do that, and your sophomore season should go just fine, kid."
Jason Bay: "Baysie, what can we say? You made it easy to love the new guy. Steady defense, timely hitting, that aw-shucks manner -- in my experience, you Canadians are really, really good people -- and most important, a postseason performance that almost made me forget you-know-who in Los Ang . . . [Tito begins to twitch uncontrollably, takes a quick swig from a flask.] Anyway, job well-done, Baysie, though I gotta to be honest here: You could have batted .000 and I would have considered it a good deal just to get rid of the headache. I even think my hair is beginning to grow back."
Jon Lester: [Looks at him like a proud father, gives him a hug.]
Kevin Youkilis: "Youkie, you made the majors as a doughy, one-dimensional walk machine whose greatest claim to fame was having a restraining order against Billy Beane. And now, four years later, by sheer will and dedication, you've made yourself into a four-tool force, an irreplaceable member of this ball club. You've earned this, Youk, and I'm just so impressed by the player you've become. Just one piece of advice: Lose the brillo beard, will ya? You're terrifying the small children and some medium-sized ones, too. . . well, at least the ones who don't think you're Yukon Cornelius."
J.D. Drew: "You thought you had a back problem, David Jonathan? YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD A BACK PROBLEM?!?! I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FEEL MY FOREARMS SINCE MAY!!!! I'M ADDICTED TO ADVIL WRAPPED IN DUBBLE-BUBBLE AND SKOAL!!! AND YET I WOULDN'T EVEN CONSIDER GETTING AN EPIDURAL EVEN IF I WAS DROPPING QUINTUPLETS TOMORROW!!! [Takes a deep breath.] All right, son, I'll give you this: I may never figure you out, but you are usually one bloodless sucker in the clutch. Hey, Babe Ruth himself couldn't have hit Price in Game 7."
Dustin Pedroia: "Pedey, I couldn't be prouder of you. You've become the player . . . aw, man, what's that smell? Did something die in here? Aw, Pedey, get the hell out of here, you disgusting little runt." [Tito to self: "Man, I love that kid. He's just . . . he's the funnest."]
* * *
As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Well, he was a career .288 hitter.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.