The Indians don't have to look to far back for inspiration to battle Josh Beckett this week. One day after the Indians lost Carlos Santana to a knee injury, Beckett looked to use thug tactics to inspire his teammantes to a final push for the pennant. I guess using Indian hitters as targtet practice wasn't much of an inspiration as the Red Sox watched the post-seaon from the same perspective as the Indians. Let's hope this version of Tribe hitters send Beckett to the bench early.
Could my being a Cleveland Indians fan be a leading indicator for my disdain of Josh Beckett? Lifetime against Cleveland Beckett is only 3-4 with a 5.56 ERA, so that's probably not it. O.K. I may be masking some bitterness behind those stats, Beckett was the 2007 ALCS MVP by going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA, 18K and 1BB against the Tribe (ALCS GAME 1 RECAP VIDEO HERE). But how can I justify being angry at someone who backs up their attitude with dominating performance (PAINFUL GAME 7 WRAP UP VIDEO HERE). Disliking Beckett solely for that reason would show me to be a sniveling pompous arrogant horses ass like Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe and that is a fate I wish on no man. My problem with Josh Beckett goes directly to his actions on the mound on one particular evening where he earned the moniker "punk" beyond all reasonable doubt.
Are there better terms other than punk to describe Josh Beckett? I did a cursory search on synonyms.net and my handy Merriam Webster Dictionary and found several that may fit the bill: goon, hoodlum, thug, poser, bully, and strong-armer. I chose the less abrasive word punk but I really wanted to go with the word that sums up Josh Beckett best and that is "Bitch". I'm certain Kenny Lofton would have some better words to describe Beckett. Check out the Facebook Group that I stumbled upon while preparing my thoughts: Kenny Lofton can and will beat Josh Beckett's ass
Honorary Punk 2010: Victor Martinez:"We really didn't try to hit anybody. If you don't pitch [inside] in this game, you're not going to pitch for long," Martinez said. "That was just a two-seamer that just ran in to Duncan and we didn't really try to hit him. And Choo, not either."
Getting back to the case at hand, as to why Josh Beckett is a punk. The incident that has angered me more than any of the numerous arrogant actions of Josh Beckett happened against the Cleveland Indians on August 3, 2010. The Indians lost their star young catcher Carlos Santana on a questionable late slide at home plate the previous night (Recap Here) so tensions were already riding high. The Red Sox and especially Josh Beckett were starting to feel the Rays and Yankees pulling away from them in the Playoff Chase. The loss to the Indians hurt the Red Sox and Beckett was going to put the team on his back and make a statement that the Sox weren't lying down.
On a night where Josh Beckett had incredible command (in a 3-1 victory) as evidenced by his striking out 8 and walking none, he managed to hit Shelly Duncan and Shin-Soo Choo with pitches. Duncan was hit in the first inning and Choo in the third. Each time Beckett glared into the home plate area to somehow show the Cleveland Indians whose boss. Indians reliever Justin Germano would throw at David Ortiz in the seventh and Jensen Lewis would hit Adrian Beltre in the 8th. Who was the first guy out of the dugout feigning anger? Josh Beckett of course. The guy that put his teammates, who were doing an admirable job of hanging in a tough AL East race, in harms way was the loudest out of the dugout. Of course, Beckett wasn't the first because that would put him in harms way, show leadership, and reveal himself to be more than just a little bitch. Instead, Beckett's true personality was revealed by his actions on the mound and in his meager defense of his teammates, actions that would only serve to make Bob Ryan feel tingly.
Did Josh Beckett's antics, putting his teammates in danger, and risking injury to the Cleveland Indians serve its purpose? Well, if finsihing 28-27 over the remaining 55 games (dead last in the AL East) and not making he playoffs was his goal, than mission accomplished. Sure, injuries to Youkilis and others served to hold the Red Sox back, but Beckett himself finished 3-5 with a 5.87 ERA. Opposing batters would hit .314 with an OPS of .911 against him over those final 10 starts.
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