By In Stuff

Days Off and Josh Beckett

Few things irritate fans more than wasted talent. Well, that’s probably not true. I could probably come up with a pretty long list of things that irritate fans more than wasted talent. Mosquitoes. Traffic. Dumb movie remakes. Whitney. Spam. Gruden. Books with lousy endings. Those automated operators who tell you that your call will be answered in the order it was received. Computer freezes. Jammed parking lots. Slow restaurant service. Power failures. Lots more. So, yeah, let me take that back. Wasted talent wouldn’t be high on anybody’s list.

But wasted talent is still irritating … and by “wasted” I don’t necessarily mean talent squandered. That’s one form. But another form, the one that is more irritating, is when talent is wasted on some kind of unlikable personality, someone who doesn’t act like they appreciate the talent. The latest saga of this kind of wasted talent is, of course, Josh Beckett.

Josh Beckett is one of the most talented pitchers of the last fifty years. You could probably go back a hundred years. Beckett was the second pick of the 1999 amateur draft, behind Josh Hamilton, who is of course one of the most talented hitters of the last 50 years. Beckett is 6-foot-5, and in his best days he threw a 100-mile-per-hour fastball, a mind-bending curve and a pretty decent change-up that seemed like piling on. He could, at his best, throw all these pitches for strikes with regularity, and he could strike out big league batters with any of those pitches. In his first full year in the minors, he struck out 203 in 140 innings, walked just 34, went 14-1 with a 1.54 ERA. He was otherworldly.

And, of course, he came right to the big leagues and had otherworldly moments there too. He allowed one single in six innings his first start. In his first full year, he struck out twelve in six innings against Montreal. Then, of course, in 2003 he had a postseason for the ages, making five starts, compiling a 2.11 ERA, and capping it off with the World Series MVP he won by throwing a complete game, five-hit, nine-strikeout shutout in Yankee Stadium to clinch the game. It was one of greatest games anyone had ever pitched in the World Series.* And Beckett was 23 at the time.

*And Brilliant Reader Alex reminds: It was on short rest.

Beckett was not one of those players who was easy to admire or enjoy. Whenever he gave an interview, he seemed a little bit less likable. Scouts grumbled about him all the time. “He should be better,” they said. Sometimes, he was better. In 2007, he might have been the best pitcher in the American League. In 2010, he had some back issues and was basically unpitchable. In between, he seemed good but not great, mixing brilliant starts with stunningly bad ones. He was electrifying to watch when he was good, painful to watch when he was bad, and it was hard to get close to him the way fans like to get close to the stars. The Boston fans I know always seemed to view Beckett as a necessary evil, kind of like Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men.” They wanted him on that wall. They needed him on that wall. But that didn’t mean that they talked about him at parties.

Well, the last few months, Beckett has made even that sort of detached fanhood tough for Boston fans. Beckett, of course, was one of the key figures in Beergate, where pitchers — Beckett prominent among them — supposedly drank beer and ordered in chicken and played video games on days when they weren’t pitching. Whether this played any real role in the Red Sox late season collapse is beside the point. It looked bad.*

*Here’s my feeling about such things: Our daughters play piano, and every so often they have a little recital. These recitals, as you undoubtedly know, can be torturous. You listen to beginning piano students plink out off-key versions of songs with names like “Tree Dance.” You listen to little girls and boys sing showtunes from the 1950s. It’s pretty tough. But here’s my feeling: You stay, and you listen, and you clap for those kids, because in a way we’re all a team, all of us parents, suffering through the “I don’t want to practice my piano” whines, driving through absurd traffic to get to them lessons on time and so on. It bugs me when I see parents watch their kid perform and then walk out. I think it’s selfish. And I think it’s disrespectful. You clap for my kid. I clap for your kid. That’s the deal. I know not everyone agrees with me, and maybe most people disagree with me. The way I see, we’re kind of in this thing together.

And, of course, that’s NOTHING like being on a real team with real stakes and real purpose. I’m sure it’s not fun to sit in a hot dugout day after day when you don’t pitch, and it’s easy enough to duck into the clubhouse and half pay attention to it on TV, and if you’re there you might as well get some food, and if you have some food you might as well drink some beer. I get that this isn’t Little League where everyone rushes to home plate to celebrate every home run hitter, and guys yell “Hey batter batter batter” to help the pitcher out. But you are still supposed to be in it together. If I can sit through “Edelweiss,” you can sit through a few innings of baseball.

Then, last week it seems that Josh Beckett skipped a start because of tightness and decided the next day that that he was still OK to play some golf. Yes, golf and baseball have not mixed well through the years. Managers have banned it. Fans have griped about it. And this looked bad. The formula, at least from the outsiders view, is that if Beckett was hurt bad enough to miss a start, golf might have been a bad idea. And if Beckett was well enough to play golf, he might have taken the ball and pitched, especially since the Red Sox are off to this terrible start. Whatever. Whether a guy with tightness should be playing golf from a physical standpoint is not the real issue — though, I would guess he should not. If one of our kids stays home sick from school, she doesn’t get to watch television..

The issue was that in response, Beckett decided to unveil the inner workings of his mind.

“I spend my days off the way I want to spend them,” he told reporters. “My off-day is my off-day.”

And, even more telling: “We get 18 days off a year. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.”

You know, I don’t think it’s the best sign on earth when a pitcher knows and can recite, on demand, exactly how many days off there are in a season. I mean, maybe that’s a scheduling issue or whatever, but that seems an awfully exact number to come up with — sort of like the guy in your office who knows how to manipulate vacation days and holidays to give him or herself like 23 four-day weekends. I don’t know if the 18 days off includes the All-Star Break (it will for Beckett this year) or the off-days in the postseason (also an unlikely issue for Beckett).

But whatever the case, it created an uproar. And then Beckett followed up by pitching lousy and he got booed all to heck and the Red Sox lost again and now it’s a full-blown Boston scandal.

There’s a feeling many of us have … that if we had been given another person’s talent, we would use it better. Maybe it’s jealousy. Maybe it’s that we feel like we have a better appreciation for talent. But I do think it affects us. I would imagine a lot of people believe that if they had been given the talent Josh Beckett was given, they would have done more with it — on and off the field. We wouldn’t clown around and drink beer in the clubhouse while games were going on. We wouldn’t play golf a day after being scratched from a start and then snap that days off are days off. We wouldn’t …

But, is that really true? In Josh Beckett’s mind, I suspect, he’s worked his butt off at this game. He’s pitched through pain. He’s delivered in big moments. He was the pitching force behind Boston’s World Series. He’s endured the pains of the game — the slumps, the boos, the insults, the injuries. So he doesn’t want to sit in the dugout every stinking minute of every game … so he wants to take his mind off things on his day off by playing a little golf … so he doesn’t have the talent to entertain reporters and doesn’t feel like making the game look like it’s the most fun he’s ever had in his entire life … so he doesn’t want to perform Seppuku every time the Red Sox lose a game …

… I’m not celebrating him for any of this. I’m a fan of enthusiasm, and I dislike half-heartedness. I’m just saying it might be a lot more human than we want to admit. I’m just saying we might find a little bit of that in our own lives. I don’t think it’s the Josh Becketts who are unusual. I think it’s the ones who go out every day, every single day, with intensity and spirit and fire who are unusual. I certainly don’t blame fans for booing the heck out of Beckett or people writing that he should be run out of town. But I do wonder how many of them might call in sick on a Friday and not cancel their tee-time Saturday morning.

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54 Responses to Days Off and Josh Beckett

  1. LetsPlay2 says:

    Nice take, Joe. I always enjoy your writing.

    I might be inclined to agree with you, but Beckett’s body is his workplace. He needs to keep it focused on taking the hill every five days and executing to the best of his abilities. The Boston Red Sox are paying Beckett $15,750,000 for this season alone! I think that entitles them to getting 100% from Josh. I think few could disagree that 100% just isn’t happening right now. If your back is too sore to throw tonight, then you shouldn’t be torquing your back 80-90 times (assuming that Beckett is a somewhat decent golfer) tomorrow.

    Sports fans are accustomed to athletes “mailing it in” from time to time. But to have a multi-million dollar athlete so blatantly say, with his actions, that he doesn’t give a **** would drive any person that works for a living crazy.

  2. nicole says:

    Fair points. I suspect that, fairly or unfairly, much of the ire stems from the fact that he makes millions of dollars to play a game. And as a pitcher he only plays every five days. Naturally he does conditioning and so on between starts, but he’s not working a construction site or laying pipe or any number of difficult, physical jobs that are every day jobs. Fans like to see humility and appreciation from their teams. Again, it might not be fair and he might not like it, but it is what is expected.

  3. Ed McDonald says:

    Comedy gold: “…don’t know if the 18 days off includes the All-Star Break (it will for Beckett this year)”

  4. DJ says:

    Don’t know how many of your reader’s watch hockey Joe, but the Nashville Predators sat down two of their better players (Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn) for two playoff games for violating curfew. There’s probably more to it that the team isn’t making public, but maybe not.

    So in that case the public got “justice” but it may have hurt the team.

    Beckett’s case might be a bit different but what should fans expect? Maybe he feel’s that golf doesn’t affect his body the same way as pitching does. Maybe he figured it would also let him take his mind off the lousy start of the Sox.

  5. I feel the same way about Josh Hamilton. He’s great now so how great would he have been if he could have stayed off the drugs and alcohol? If he had used his talents then they way he is using them now, we may be talking about him being one of the greatest of all time. Although he wasted his talents for so many years, I’m glad to see him clean up and show how good he could have been.

  6. Lee says:

    You read my mind: My daughter misses school, she doesn’t get to go to art class that night…period. Have some respect for the fans…have some respect for the men paying you $15M this year. Hell, have some respect for yourself.

  7. Scott says:

    I enjoyed your take on Beckett but my take away from this post? “If one of our kids stays home sick from school, she doesn’t get to watch television.. “

    Seriously? Is this payback for having to sit through the recitals? Just saying, that is harsh.

    Great post though. Just made me feel bad for how soft we are on our kids. You’re a regular tiger dad.

    • gypsy18 says:

      Joe’s no tiger dad. If he were, & he suspected that his daughter wasn’t really sick, he’d make her go to school. And that doesn’t really make Joe a tiger dad, it just makes him a dad. If your child is truly ill, what on earth is wrong with allowing her to watch TV? Upshot: If you think your child is malingering, send her to school, don’t think you’re “all that” as a parent by withholding TV or *gasp* art class.

    • Scott says:

      I’ve read enough of Joe’s writings through the years to be fully aware that he is not a tiger dad. His writings about his daughter have frequently made me tear up. I was trying to be funny and I seemed to have swung and missed. However, you do realize that it was Joe who wrote that he withheld TV, not me. I doubt that either one of us think we’re “all that.”

    • nightfly says:

      I think you’re missing the point, as JJS said above. It’s not “punishing” a sick child by “withholding” art class or TV. It’s acknowledging that being too sick for a thing you avoid is also being too sick for a thing you love. It’s one of the many small things parents do to teach their children that actions have consequences. If it’s not one of the things you do, fine; but perhaps a child who knows that missing school means missing art class, grows up to be an adult who skips golf when he’s too sick to go to work.

    • Master Baker says:

      Right, so I was rarely allowed to watch TV at home when I was growing up. My parents didn’t even get one until I was 10 (1991), and when they finally got one they put it in their bedroom. I was allowed to watch sports and movies on it, sometimes. Interestingly, I was allowed to watch it when I was sick.
      In any case, while I certainly moaned about this deprivation quite a bit, I never looked at it as “punishment” for god knows what. It was what it was. While there may be nothing “wrong with allowing her to watch TV,” what exactly is wrong with NOT allowing her to do so?

  8. Matt says:

    There’s a feeling many of us have … that if we had been given another person’s talent, we would use it better. Maybe it’s jealousy. Maybe it’s that we feel like we have a better appreciation for talent.

    I think it’s that, in our minds, most of us think that we’re better people than those who are around us, and especially the athletes we root for (and against). For better or worse, most people think of the things that Beckett did as moral failings. Therefore, if we’re better than him (and, of course, we think we are), we wouldn’t do those things that he did.

    It reminds me of an old Dave Barry line (that I’m sure I’m not getting exactly right: The one thing that unites us all is that, deep down in our heart of hearts, we all think that we’re above-average drivers.

  9. Mark Daniel says:

    It’s hard for me to have sympathy for Beckett. His actions are indeed like many of us working stiffs, the difference being that working stiffs put in 40 hrs per week, week after week after week, with precious little time off and for relatively little pay. Beckett pitches once every 5 days and gets 3 months off in the offseason. The nature of pro sports is that you work fewer hours than joe six pack, but the hours you do work have more intensity. Beckett is slacking off as if he’s burning the candle at both ends just to make ends meet. We can accept playing hooky when it’s done by people who work their fingers to the bone, but it’s quite unacceptable for a pampered millionaire pitcher to do the same in freaking early May.

  10. gypsy18 says:

    “…if you have some food you might as well drink some beer.” Please GOD tell me you didn’t mean that.

    Josh Beckett is an alcoholic. Just say it. If he goes into the clubhouse & drinks beer instead of showing support & camaraderie for his teammates, he’s a prima donna AND an alcoholic.

    The Beckett saga reminds me of the PGA’s John Daly. You could say both these guys are d***s, or you could say both these guys are in the grip of a deadly-serious disease – alcoholism – & need to seek help for themselves NOW. Their lives – & livelihoods – depend on it. Red Sox management & fans, Beckett’s family & teammates, & the media need to stop enabling this man to kill himself with booze.

    Major League Baseball – along with every other professional sport – needs to stop groveling to the god (devil) of alcohol. It makes me sick.

    “*And and Brilliant Reader Alex reminds: It was on short rest.” Just one “and.”

    • tomemos says:

      This is a really gross comment. What evidence do you have that Beckett has any kind of drinking problem?

    • tomemos says:

      Also, “and and” was clearly on purpose. It followed an additional “and”; it’s a little bit of a joke.

    • Tampa Mike says:

      Having a couple of beers makes you an alcoholic??? Wow, I better run out and find the nearest AA meeting and get some help then!!

    • Marco says:

      Methinks Gypsy18 doth protest too loudly.

    • gypsy18 says:

      If you have as much talent & make as much money as Beckett does, you don’t jeopardize your career by having “a couple of beers” unless you have a drinking problem. That reminds me of all the COPS episodes. Every time an officer asks how much the perp has had to drink, the perp says, “A couple of beers.” NOBODY just has “a couple of beers.”

      Marco, what do you mean I’m protesting? I’m not protesting anything. I call ’em as I see ’em. Josh Beckett is an alcoholic.

      Oh, & Tampa Mike? You got it. Josh Beckett needs to get help for himself at Alcoholics Anonymous. Nobody can make him get help. He has to do it for himself. Check out the AA website & see if you are an alcoholic. Wish you only the best.

    • pizzajohn says:

      gypsy18 you’re out of your mind.Many people enjoy
      alcohol for conviviality and as a social lubricant.To
      refer to alcohol as the devil is over the top.To refer to over imbibing as a disease allows people to avoid responsibility for their actions. AA is bunk science/spirituality, less effective then maturity.Judge not lest you be judged.
      By the way I used to drink a lot but haven’t in years. Wish my cancer was a “disease” like alcoholism.

    • Tampa Mike says:

      I don’t understand how having a couple of beers makes you an alcoholic or jeopardizes his career in any way.

      I am perfectly capable of meeting friends and having 1 or 2 beers. People do it all the time. It’s called drinking responsibly. If the people on COPS really only had a couple of beers they wouldn’t have been swerving all over the road and wouldn’t have been pulled over in the first place.

  11. Tampa Mike says:

    I think fans (and specifically Red Sox and Yankee fans) have unrealistic expectations of players. How is it anyone’s business what Josh does on his off day? How would you feel if you were grilled about what you did over the weekend or on vacation by your boss?

    I think it was played out well in “Fever Pitch”. After losing an ALCS game, some of the players were out eating dinner and some fans around them were pissed. Are they supposed to starve themselves because they lost? Should they sit in a dark room and cry because they lost? They are vary talented athletes making a lot of money, but they are still just people playing a GAME.

    • The Stork says:

      Tampa Mike – I think you’re missing the point, he didnt pitch the day before due to tightness in his “lat”. He then goes out the next day to play golf, torqueing his body. If his body hurt that he couldn’t pitch and then goes golfing the next day – are we to believe him? He then pitches on his next rotation and gets lit up – was this a result of not properly resting? He is under contract for the SEASON. His weekend is when the season is over.

  12. gary says:

    I think you’re missing the point. Fans are only angry because he’s not producing on the field. If he throws 7 innings of shutout ball yesterday then no one cares that he went golfing. The problem is the pitcher you describe ( in his best days he threw a 100-mile-per-hour fastball, a mind-bending curve and a pretty decent change-up that seemed like piling on) isn’t the pitcher that Beckett is today. He’s throwing 91, and at 91 his ‘I do what I want’ shtick doesn’t play as well.

  13. Why is Whitney irritating?

    • DJM says:

      Because it is not a good show. And I say that as someone who actually enjoys it at times and thinks it tried to get better through the season. Other shows wouldn’t have bothered.

    • Bryan says:

      I guess I need to watch more prime time TV, because I thought Joe meant Whitney Houston. I didn’t get it either.

  14. Dinky says:

    No television when sick? I can see how that works if your daughters have a history of skipping school. But what if they’re really sick, with obvious symptoms like fever, chicken pox, vomiting, etc? That seems to me to be punishing them for things out of their control. That will make them go to school on days when they, and their classmates that they infect, would be better off if they stayed home watching television. If you really think that parents are a team, then don’t motivate your daughters to make the whole team ill by spreading illness since staying home is too boring for words.

    As for Josh Beckett, does he really have 18 days off during the season, or just 18 open dates? If he’s scheduled to throw and the team is going to skip the #5 starter, won’t he come in to long toss? Won’t he have therapy for minor injuries? Teams never suspend their stars for conduct detrimental (see: Jeff Kent’s motorcycle injury). But it doesn’t look good for the team or the player. If the Red Sox truly want to gel, suspend Beckett.

  15. I would imagine that as a Red Sock with medical issues no matter how small, Beckett would be under the care of the Red Sox doctor and/or trainer. If *they* had no issue with Beckett playing golf, then who am I to be offended by it?

    You know, if the Red Sox have an issue with Beckett playing golf (or even drinking beer) they can put clauses in his contract to control his behavior. If the Red Sox haven’t let us know that their training and medical staff have issues with what Beckett has done AND if they have not placed any regulatory clauses in his contract, then who the #$%^ are these fans to say anything.

    I don’t care how much money you make (and I don’t make much): Unless he agrees to something else, the guy is entitled to do whatever the hell he wants on his off day.

  16. Good read Joe. I think part of Beckett’s issue is that he doesn’t realize his talent. I would imagine he has always been the best pitcher on the field and hasn’t known anything else. If he had grown up and had a lot of failure in the game, he might be more dedicated. To him, I suspect it is no big deal. While we can’t understand his view, neither can he appreciate ours.

    Sorry that so many posters seemed to just take away the part about not letting your daughter watch TV if home sick. Not sure why those folks even check in here. Just to be the antagonist?

  17. I may be a homer but thanks to 70 years of instruction by George Kissel there really is a “Cardinal Way” of playing baseball. I just can’t imagine this kind of behavior(beer & wings, off day golf after scratch) happening in the St. Louis clubhouse. As a fan who was never talented enough to really dream of even a minor league career I appreciate when players express real work in displaying their talent. There is still a living example of the “Cardinal Way” in Stan Musial and I wonder what players of his era would say about this kind of ethic. HOF Red Schoendienst has said that guys played really hurt all the time for fear of getting replaced by a minor leaguer. Wonder what Beckitts afraid of?

  18. Max Abrams says:

    Let’s be real, if he was in a smaller market no one would notice. I wonder how Red Sox fans who waited 50 years or however old they are for a world series feel about booing someone who led them to a championship…

  19. eilandesq says:

    This is the city that–between the nasty fans and the even nastier inbred Boston baseball media–ticked off Ted Williams enough that after 1940 he never tipped his cap to the home crowd again, until he was long retired. Sad to say, neither the fans nor the baseball writers have improved much over time.

  20. spencersteel says:

    I think this article misunderstands talent. Incredible stuff is a talent, but so is maintaing the focus and intensity that is required from a professional athlete. Word has it there have been many guys at Rucker Park who were as good or better than the best NBA players but couldn’t make it whether because of drug addiction, the inability to maintain the discipline to follow the rigor of a long and boring NBA season, or whatever. I happen to be watching Chris Capuano right now, who is nobody’s idea of a star pitcher. He has, however, endured two Tommy John surgeries and made it back to the majors. I’m not sure a lot of men could stand that – his perseverance is a talent, though it doesn’t look like a 100MPH fastball or a knee-buckling curve. If you think carefully about it, it’s akin to saying a guy’d have been a HOF NBA center if he was only 7’2″ instead of 6’8″.

  21. Honestly, Beckett skipping his start and then golfing does kind of sound like that day we’ve all had, maybe once a year, maybe once every six months, when we wake up and say, “f— it, I’m not goin to work today.” And then you just call in sick and enjoy the day off. Well, the rest of us don’t make millions of dollars to play baseball once every five days. On the other hand–who knows? Maybe he mentioned some muscle tightness and the team insisted he skip his start rather than risk injury. Either way, this year’s Boston team is a circus, from top to bottom. They lost one of the best GMs and managers in the game, and Bobby Valentine took approximately four days to completely lose control of the locker room. This should be fun to watch for everyone who isn’t a Red Sox fan.

  22. Gary says:

    As a long-time high school coach I’ve often said, quite sincerely, that I would rather have a kid with moderate talent who gives 100 percent and is a good teammate than a kid with a world of talent who gives half-hearted effort and complains. Players who go through the motions and complain can bring down an entire team.

    When my son was a senior in high school the leftfielder was a chronic complainer, undermining the coach behind his back, putting down other players, etc. The team started off 4-14. When the coach became aware of the problems the leftfielder was causing he kicked him off the team.

    The team won their next 10 games, including winning the sectional and the first game of the regional, a first for the school. Although I like to think the fact that my son pitched a perfect game to start the 10-game winning streak was also a powerful motivator, the biggest factor, according to my son and others, was not having that negative influence in the locker room and on the bus rides.

    I know the Red Sox are professionals and that they’re going to back up their teammate, but I still wonder how much of their problems at the end of last season and the beginning of this are exacerbated by Beckett’s negative influence.

    • hector31 says:

      Great post, Gary.

      In a semi-related theme, what helps a college basketball program better: uber-talented kids who stay for 1-2 years and already have their pro career mapped out at 18 (and an entourage), or the humbler kid who knows he’s a longshot to play pro ball, so he stays for four years and gives you a coachable foundation and solid play?

      I’ll take my chances with the second type of kid, Kentucky’s title to the side.

  23. DJM says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. DJM says:

    I can’t believe Joe just wrote a post on The Natural but didn’t make a connection between Bump Bailey and Birdie Beckett.

  25. jim says:

    Can you imagine if Josh Beckett was the #3 starter on those mid to late 90s KC Star sports columnist teams? According to Fats, Inc. the Man Boob Brothers (J-Whit and JoePoz) had fried chicken and beer for ever meal of the 1998 season, a modern record unlikely ever to be duplicated.

  26. Unknown says:

    Joe, I really liked your point about our belief as fans that we’d “do more” with a player’s talent when it seems it’s being wasted. That’s so true and such a matter of perspective! For example, imagine having grown up in one of the many countries in this world (take your pick) where vast numbers of people live in extreme poverty. I can easily imagine looking at the life of the average (or even below average) American and thinking, “Man, if I had that life I sure as hell wouldn’t waste it like these people are. I’d give it everything I had, every single day, get a great job and live an amazing life!”
    …and yet how many of us do that, in the way we would if we really saw our lives as a fantastic opportunity we’d been granted?
    Baseball players are the same. Their lives are their lives. I’m sure it’s been a long time since their position felt remarkable– which happens to all of us.

  27. spencersteel says:

    If Josh Beckett didn’t do the things Josh Beckett does, maybe he’d have been Roger Clemens. What I found most interesting in Brian Cashman’s testimony was just how hard a worker Clemens was. Forgetting the PED part, to be a Clemens or a Michael Jordan you need to have otherworldly genetic composition. THEN you need to supplement that with an insane work-ethic that might be considered obsessive-compulsive if directed towards some other endeavor. Almost nobody has Beckett’s stuff, and almost nobody had Clemens’s determination. Of course there have been other athletes with equal determination to Clemens, but nobody really heard much about them because they didn’t have the otherworldly natural talent. With a guy like Beckett you can see in your mind’s eye what he might be “if only”, but that’s really just the mind playing tricks. “If only” is really just shorthand for something that isn’t. To paraphrase the commenter above, Beckett is Beckett because he’s Beckett.

  28. dschavone says:

    Not to defend Beckett too strongly, but my impression of the skipped start was that the Sox had 20 games in 20 days ahead of them, so a little rest where it can be found is helpful. They also had Aaron Cook in AAA and needed to bring him up so he wouldn’t trigger the out clause in his contract. Was Beckett’s lat a little tight? Probably, kinda like Tom Brady’s right shoulder is always sore. But I don’t think Beckett asked out of the start, I think he was told his start would be skipped.

    Yes, he comes off as a jerk (though it should be noted that the same Boston media that is crucifying him for his perceived attitude loved his “honesty” when he was tearing through the league last summer and providing funny, profanity-laden post-game soundbites). But he’s always been a jerk. He was a jerk in ’07, he was a jerk in ’03. It certainly didn’t stop him from pitching great. Hell, if September 2011 hadn’t happened he probably would have received some CY votes. A jerk the whole time.

    Isn’t it possible that Josh has been having a crap time at work and thought a day on the golf course might help clear his head? Dave Cameron at FanGraphs has an interesting look at it, and he raises the question of a more serious injury. Loss of velocity is a big indicator, and Beckett’s velocity is definitely down.

  29. I will freely admit that I don’t really know Josh Beckett. I don’t know that he’s a jerk, merely that he goes out of his way to appear like one, and doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks of him.

    That said, even IF he’s the utter sphincter I believe he is, well… he was still the same sphincter a few years ago when he was carrying the Marlins and the Red Sox to World Championships.

    And that’s really the only problem I have with the new approach of Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox’s fron office. My hunch is, Josh Beckett was almost certainly drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games in the clubhouse in 2007, when the Sox were on top! And he was almost certainly playing golf on his off days back in 2003, when the Marlins were en route to a championship.

    In other words, yes, Josh Beckett is undoubtedly a putz and a selfish S.O.B. who doesn’t care about the fans or his teammates… but he was exactly the same guy when he was unhittable.

    Hence, it seems silly to me for Bobby Valentine to institute petty “reforms” like banning beer from the locker room, or ordering Josh Beckett to sit on the bench in the dugout during games he won’t be appearing in.

    The RIGHT approach is to tell Beckett, in no uncertain terms, “Can the attitude, and start pitching like a star again. Do that, and we don’t care if you eat drumsticks or play video games in the clubhouse. If you DON’T do it, we’ll trade you to KC or just cut your worthless butt entirely.”

    • Tampa Mike says:

      I’ll take him in KC!! Even pitching like he is right now, he would still be our ace.

      I agree 100% though. The Boston media wanted to make a big deal out of this, but I think the same thing happens in most clubhouses. Would it really make the team better if all the starters sat on the bench for the whole game? Players can get away with almost anything when they are winning.

  30. Ima Ryma says:

    I have had talent that gets me
    Into the public ear and eye,
    Who judge and expect me to be
    Appreciative in all reply.
    My talent should be worn all time,
    And never hung up on a hook.
    To do so is a public crime –
    Guilty of a “how does it look!”
    And with the talent, I must wear
    Enthusiasm ever bright,
    And with the public only share
    The words and acts that do look right.

    Of all the talents that I had,
    I was real good at looking bad.

  31. Gregg says:

    I think you’re right on the money, Beckett hasn’t lived up to the potential. Only 3 200+ip seasons. 1 20 win season, 0 200k seasons. And he was supposed to be the next Texas fireballer. And the Texas ace has been a bigger miss than the next great Met ace: Van Poppel, Wood, Beckett. For me, it’s always about Dwight Gooden (and he’s the greatest example of unfulfilled potential) but combined Wood and Josh have 213 wins. Doc won 194.

  32. Alejo says:

    I would totally walk out after listening to my kid. Why should I listen to other people´s children? why should anyone? why do schools organize this recitals anyway?

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