Mike from Attleboro: Place the blame where it belongs

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Mike from Attleboro: Place the blame where it belongs

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.

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK - There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."