Mike from Attleboro -- the leading contributor to Michael Felger's old mailbag and one of Felger's favorite callers to his radio show -- is now contributing occasional pieces to CSNNE.com. Today he gives his take on Josh Beckett.
Last weeks revelation from 98.5 The Sports Hub's Rob Hardy Poole that Josh Beckett was rehabbing his wounded lat muscle by hacking through 27 holes of golf with Clay Buchholz shouldnt have surprised anyone.
Why should the rotund and recalcitrant Beckett care about being an elite athlete and take care of his body? He didnt last year and it not only cost the team down the stretch, it also cost Terry Francona, and strength and conditioning coach Dave Page, their jobs. But thats not his problem.
He certainly didnt use last seasons failings to motivate him this offseason. While David Ortiz found the time to come into camp looking noticeably leaner, Beckett simply wasnt going to let getting into shape and being professional interfere with his time off. After all, the Sox only had 141 days to themselves this offseason.
So skipping a start due to an apparent injury was never going to keep Beckett from doing what he does best: Whatever he feels like.
Of course this has driven fans to Sopranos Finale levels of outrage. They want Beckett gone, and gone now. But unfortunately for the fans, the focus of their anger, and the anger itself, is woefully misplaced.
Why should we as fans expect any sort of behavior modification from Beckett if the front office didnt already demand it? Beckett was never made responsible for his part in last seasons collapse by the team. Beckett was never held accountable for his level of fitness going into the offseason and, as recently mentioned by CSNNEs Gary Tanguay, he still is treating the weight room like a PETA meeting.
If all of Josh Becketts crimes against professionalism, which we know about, arent enough to spur Larry Lucchino and Jim Hensons Ben Cherington into action, nothing will.
Josh Beckett is allowed to do as he pleases while this team slowly sinks in the standings because the current owners of the Boston Red Sox are only concerned with counting sellouts, hawking their wares and counting their money. John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Warner care more about the Red Sox finishing the season in the black than they do about finishing in contention. They wave the championship banners of 2004 and 2007 as they reprogram Carmine to calculate how much cash they can charge for Josh Beckett divot tools and ball markers.
Why else would the team put up with Josh Becketts Roger Dorn impersonation? Because its easier to simply do nothing as a Josh Beckett begs out of starts only to hit the links at Bushwood for 27 with the Haverkamps. Its easier to allow your celebrity manager to twist in the wind as his supposed staff ace and leader undermines the clubhouse one stroke at a time. Its easier to let your PR and security staff work triple time enforcing a paper bag ban to mask the growing dissent of the fan base. Those costs are all preferable to actually trying to change a team and a culture that putrefies more and more with each passing game.
The Texas Doughboy still has a job on this team because getting rid of him will hurt team profitability. Net profits are now the only advanced metrics that matter on Yawkey Way and its too expensive to try and move a player so slothful and truculent. Forget trying to improve the team. Simply getting rid of a team saboteur, like Beckett, takes capital that this ownership group is not prepared to surrender. Instead, they are content to field a team with a leader who is more than willing to surrender his season if it interferes with hitting the links, Miller Time or a finger licking good snack.
If the Red Sox dont care enough to do something about Beckett, this team and its attitude why should you? Take a page out of Josh Becketts rehab program. Forget about the team and go golfing. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.