Red Sox Pitcher Josh Beckett Faces Media Firestorm Over Golf Outing
In what is quickly turning out to be a hellish season in Boston, starting pitcher Josh Beckett is now the latest victim of poor choices surrounding the Red Sox early season.
After being scratched from the lineup card with a sore lat in the previous week, it was reported that Beckett was seen the very next day on a local Boston golf course trying to earn a different kind of low score.
However, when Beckett took the mound yesterday in his first start back, the Red Sox pitcher was absolutely rocked by the Cleveland Indians for seven runs, getting booed off the field in only 2 1/3 innings.
Facing ridicule from fans and media, Beckett admitted that he was not at his best that day. Despite that fact, when asked whether his golf outing was a good decision, Beckett had no problem with his choice to enjoy a day off.
“I spend my off days the way I want to spend them,” Beckett said.
When probed further by ESPNBoston.com‘s Gordon Ede’s, Becketts responses regarding his decision in question seemed even more unapologetic.
“Given that you were skipped a start with what was described as a tight lat muscle, do people have the right to question why you were golfing?” asked Ede.
“Not on my off day” replied Beckett.
“Do you understand the perception that leaves when the team is playing as poorly as it is?”, continued Ede.
“We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.” said Beckett.
Ede’s certainly was not accepting that as a valid answer,. going on to write that:
And the true extent of his tone deafness was that for most people hearing or reading his words, the immediate response is:18 days? What about the 3 1/2 months after the season, or 4 1/2 months if you blow a certain playoff spot and don’t play in October?
Trust me: A baseball season is a grind. The travel, the odd hours, the physical beating, the time away from family, the nightly pressure that can wear down the strongest of men. No one begrudges a player the few days off he has in the course of a summer. No one usually cares, or knows, what players do with that time off, either.
But Josh Beckett is paid $15.75 million. If he makes 32 starts in the course of a season, that means he is paid $492,187.50 per start. Is it so egregious to have to answer a question or two about the wisdom of golfing when you’re supposedly too hurt to pitch? Or to concede that perception does matter and when people are desperately looking for a reason to fall back in love with this team after last summer’s fiasco, you have to be sensitive to those perceptions?
It does seem that Josh Beckett has at least one person on his side.
Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine defended the pitcher by telling reporters the same day that ”I’ve never seen a pitcher get hurt playing golf.”