Friday, May 11, 2012

Some thoughts on Josh Beckett

This is not a good time for Boston Red Sox fans. While this writer refuses to write that team off, they are on pace to lose 99 games this season if things don't turn around fairly quickly. And if you add this season's start to the last month of last season, the Red Sox haven't played good baseball in quite some time. So maybe this is who they are. Maybe not. But what has become most interesting is that the Red Sox have been like bloody meat thrown into a shark tank. Of course, every other Red Sox story dredges up the silly beer and chicken stories of last season. But the link to those stories is now in deep water again with the Boston fans and media over a round of golf.

To read the angry tweets on Twitter from Red Sox fans and to hear the boos in the stands at the game last night, it wasn't just a game of golf. It was about a pitcher who skipped his last start due to a lat strain, but still was well enough to play a round of golf. This was taken as a sign that Beckett stiffed the team and was either reckless with his expensive health, or a faker who should have pitched his last turn. The reactions seem baffling from here in Maine.

Look, golf can be hard on the back, but it is not like playing a full on game of basketball or something. You use a golf cart to get around and you can favor sore muscles to swing more easily if need be. Been there, done that. And Beckett is absolutely correct. These guys get eighteen days off a season. If they love playing golf (as many players do), then why shouldn't they?

This entire flap really seems absurd from this seat as did the chicken and beer thing. The picture being painted here is that Beckett is a core of players that simply don't care about their profession. Not buying that belief. While not around the team to witness it personally, it seems hard to believe that Beckett doesn't care about his team or his performance. 

Maybe he is a spoiled and rich athlete that no longer cares. But this hardly seems like a smoking gun of proof. Yeah, slam the guy's performance, but unless you absolutely know better, leave his motivation out of it.


Left Field said...

I agree that the Red Sox are not to be written off yet, but I respectfully disagree about most of the rest.

First, Beckett said "18 off days a year," not "18 off days a season." There's a pretty big difference. Also, he's a starting pitcher, not a position player. I know they work between starts, but there's a lot of time for golf when he's not injured.

The biggest problem, though, is that Beckett is unwilling to concede that perception is important, especially when you take $15+ million a year to play in a really passionate sports town.

He didn't handle questions about the beer in the clubhouse thing nearly as well as Jon Lester did. He's even used the birth of his newborn as an excuse to say he has larger priorities in life than baseball, as if he's the only person in the world who has a kid and expects to get sympathy from the regular folks who are forced to send their kids to day care because they need two incomes to provide for their families. Not as easy for those folks to say they have larger priorities than their jobs, is it?

OK, that seems a little tangential, I suppose. The point is Red Sox fans (and baseball fans) have a lot of reason to be frustrated with (even pissed off at) Josh Beckett.

Anonymous said...

This article is pure T bull shit. Beckett is a pampered asshole who makes too much money and receives far too little physical abuse. What he needs is a real ass-whipping by someone in the clubhouse, someone who is willing to kick him in the teeth and in the balls, and who is willing to leave his blood all over the floor. He started this shit and he needs to face the real consequences, instead of verbal tongue lashings at the hands of incompetent sports writers.

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

So how do you really feel?

Stevo-sama said...

I'm inclined to agree with you, it's true Beckett should just keep his mouth shut (which is kind of what you're saying, Dan) and it's also true that Josh Beckett isn't the biggest problem the Red Sox have. The sports media can take his situation (remember, he's not paid to be SMART) and help blow it up into a ridiculous event. All this from a guy who can only *hope* that the teams he likes could finish the season with a win% like the 2011 Red Sox had...