Josh Beckett’s recent golf outing on a day he was supposed to be injured (and if not injured, starting) is troublesome but not unreasonable for major league ballplayers. Reggie Jackson played during the season. Babe Ruth tried. Derek Jeter plays. Even Brandon Inge gets out on the course multiple times throughout the year. And who doesn’t like Inge?
The thing that made Red Sox nation really angry was when Beckett came out to his next start and faced only 16 batters with a sub-par fastball (excuse the pun). Beckett is 2-4 this year with a 5.97 ERA.
Beckett (along with John Lackey and Jon Lester) were also under scrutiny for drinking beer and eating chicken wings in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse during the end of the last season. This was why they collapsed during the last month of the season. Really? Not for being outscored 135-160 or having their pitchers give up 227 hits and 29 home runs last September?
David Wells threw a perfect game “half-drunk.” Wade Boggs, one of the greatest ballplayers ever, reportedly drank 64 beers during a cross country team flight. Allen Iverson, one of the quickest point guards to ever touch a basketball, was pretty much blacked out throughout his 14-year NBA career. And you wanna talk about Beckett?
The real problem has been the entire team’s performance between the lines. Their on-field effort is lacking. If the players are focused on the field, nobody would care what happens during their off-days. That’s why they’re off-days. What do you do on your off-days?
Including last year’s September collapse and the 2012 season, the Boston Red Sox are 20-39. Their pitching has been atrocious this year (13 wins, 19 losses and a combined 5.25 ERA). Kevin Youkilis, a staple of two championship teams, seems to have lost his way after being called out by Manager Bobby Valentine for a lack of hard work. Something Valentine should’ve kept internal. And John Lackey, signed to a five-year deal worth $82.5 million back in 2010, is 26-23 with a 5.61 ERA. He’s also out with an injury for all of 2012.
The Boston Red Sox have always been a lovable team. During the past 10 years, they’ve been a wild, raucous group of guys; even dubbed the “Idiots” during their 2004 World Series run.
But they’re missing that stoic, competitive leader that’s always kept the team balanced and on (or maybe off) the course. Starting pitchers like Pedro Martinez or Curt Schilling. Veteran catchers like Jason Varitek or even loud-mouth clubhouse captains like Kevin Millar.
So before blaming Josh Beckett and his affliction for beer, golf and chicken wings; one really needs to take a look at the entire organization. Someone like David Ortiz or Dustin Pedroia needs to get this team back on track. They’re too good to look this bad.