Beckett: I'm happy, healthy, and not changing for the media

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Beckett: I'm happy, healthy, and not changing for the media

The somber, stoic facade that Josh Beckett displays 100 percent of the time to the Red Sox media -- and, thus, Red Sox Nation -- disappeared Tuesday.

Instead, it was a friendly, chatty Beckett who appeared on WAAF's Hill Man Morning Show Tuesday morning to hype the sixth annual Beckett Bowl, and in the process he let it be known that:

He's happy in Boston,

His back feels good and he'll be able to make his scheduled start Wednesday, and

He's not going to change for the media, who "want you to be who they want you to be instead of just who you are."

Click here to listen to the interview, highlights of which are listed below:

On how hes feeling:
Im good. Just muscle spasms. We traveled in late from New York, and I didnt sleep particularly well. I had a lot of anxiety and stress things going on, exterior distractions. I dont think a lot of it was great for my back. Then going out and pitching on that mound, it was very wet and my back just locked up on me.

On making his start tomorrow:
Oh yeah. I think I could have went today, Jonny Lesters day. He pitched so well last time that it was kind of up to him when he wanted to pitch. He was going to go today on his normal day and Ill go tomorrow.

On whether this season has been harder:
Well I think just this past week regarding trade rumors was different for me, and I alluded to that, I did a little press conference after my start the other day and I alluded to that. Just that week was so much different for me because they were all rumors. They were apparently not being brought up by the Red Sox, because I was hearing from everybody that none of this was true and everything like that, but I still had to answer questions about it, so it was very confusing. Thats where I think the anxiety comes in. Its not so much stress, its more anxiety than anything because youre not real sure how things are going.

On whether he feels hes misunderstood by fans and media:
I think for me, Im just me. I dont pay too much mind to when people have their opinions about it. Im not going to change and I think sometimes thats kind of what the media outlets want you to do here. They want you to be who they want you to be instead of just who you are. Im just me, and I have a really good support group around me. As long as I dont do anything to piss my wife off, Ill be OK.

On players potentially ratting Bobby Valentine out to upper management:
I dont even know. I heard something about the Will Middlebrooks thing, but Im almost positive that Bobby was the one that brought that up to the media. I dont know. Like I said, you cant pay attention to it. Ive got too many other things to do, basically. I dont have time to pay attention to what Joe expletive is writing.

On Curt Schilling saying he would take a swing at a manager for what Valentine said to Middlebrooks and whether hed do the same:
No, not if hes my manager I wouldnt. I think thats easy for Schill to say now that hes not on the team.

On whether hes happy in Boston:
Yeah.

On if the Red Sox have a dysfunctional clubhouse:
No, its the exact opposite. Theres people who want it to be that way, and its not so it makes them mad when they come in there and were laughing and joking and having a good time. They want the perception to be something, and thats what theyre going to write. Theres some very, very good media outlets here and theres some very, very not good ones. The ones that are not good are the ones that want to perception to be what they want it to be no matter what, and thats what theyre going to write.

Theres nothing you can do about it, and thats the way its been here for a long time. I talked to Jim Rice about it a few days ago. Jimmy was obviously not a fan of the media at all when he was here and had a lot of trouble with that and ended up to where he thinks it actually cost him a couple years on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. Thats just the way it is, thats the way its always been here apparently. They talk about Ted Williams had problems with it when he was here.

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

IRVING, Texas -- Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial peace to 26 years since the ruinous fights in the first two decades of free agency.

After days of near round-the-clock talks, negotiators reached a verbal agreement about 3 1/2 hours before the expiration of the current pact. Then they worked to draft a memorandum of understanding, which must be ratified by both sides.

"It's great! Another five years of uninterrupted baseball," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said in a text message.

In announcing the agreement, Major League Baseball and the players' association said they will make specific terms available when drafting is complete.

"Happy it's done, and baseball is back on," Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy said.

As part of the deal, the experiment of having the All-Star Game determine which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series will end after 14 years, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been signed.

Instead, the pennant winner with the better regular-season record will open the Series at home.

Another important change: The minimum time for a stint on the disabled list will be reduced from 15 days to 10.

The luxury tax threshold rises from $189 million to $195 million next year, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $209 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021.

Tax rates increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first offenders, remain at 30 percent for second offenders and rise from 40 percent to 50 percent for third offenders. There is a new surtax of 12 percent for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 42.5 percent for first offenders more than $40 million above the threshold and 45 percent for subsequent offenders more than $40 million above.

Union head Tony Clark, presiding over a negotiation for the first time, said in a statement the deal "will benefit all involved in the game and leaves the game better for those who follow."

Key changes involve the qualifying offers clubs can make to their former players after they become free agents - the figure was $17.2 million this year. If a player turns down the offer and signs elsewhere, his new team forfeits an amateur draft pick, which usually had been in the first round under the old deal.

Under the new rules, a player can receive a qualifying offer only once in his career and will have 10 days to consider it instead of seven. A club signing a player who declined a qualifying offer would lose its third-highest amateur draft pick if it is a revenue-sharing receiver, its second- and fifth-highest picks (plus a loss of $1 million in its international draft pool) if it pays luxury tax for the just-ended season, and its second-highest pick (plus $500,000 in the international draft pool) if it is any other team.

A club losing a free agent who passed up a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after competitive balance round B if under $50 million. However, if that team pays luxury tax, the extra draft pick would drop to after the fourth round.

Among other details:

-For a team $40 million or more in excess of the luxury tax threshold, its highest selection in the next amateur draft will drop 10 places.

-While management failed to obtain an international draft of amateurs residing outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, it did get a hard cap on each team's annual bonus pool for those players starting at $4.75 million for the signing period that begins next July 2.

-There is no change to limits on active rosters, which remain at 25 for most of the season and 40 from Sept. 1 on.

-Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new players, those who currently do not have at least one day of major league service.

-The regular season will expand from 183 days to 187 starting in 2018, creating four more scheduled off days. There are additional limitations on the start times of night games on getaway days.

-The minimum salary rises from $507,500 to $535,000 next year, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019, with cost-of-living increases the following two years; the minor league minimum for a player appearing on the 40-man roster for at least the second time goes up from $82,700 to $86,500 next year, $88,000 in 2018 and $89,500 in 2019, followed by cost-of-living raises.

-The drop-off in slot values in the first round of the amateur draft will be lessened.

-Oakland's revenue-sharing funds will be cut to 75 percent next year, 50 percent in 2018, 25 percent in 2019 and then phased out.

-As part of the drug agreement, there will be increased testing, players will not be credited with major league service time during suspensions, and biomarker testing for HGH will begin next year.

Negotiators met through most of Tuesday night in an effort to increase momentum in the talks, which began during spring training. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agreement before the old contract expired, but a deal was struck eight weeks in advance in 2006 and three weeks ahead of expiration in 2011.

Talks took place at a hotel outside Dallas where the players' association held its annual executive board meeting.

Clark, the first former player to serve as executive director of the union, and others set up in a meeting room within earshot of a children's choir practicing Christmas carols. A man dressed as Santa Claus waited nearby.

Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the last a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years. The 2002 agreement was reached after players authorized a strike and about 3 1/2 hours before the first game that would have been impacted by a walkout.

The peace in baseball is in contrast to the recent labor histories of other major sports. The NFL had a preseason lockout in 2011, the NBA lost 240 games to a lockout that same year and the NHL lost 510 games to a lockout in 2012-13.