Sadly, that starter happens to be Roger Clemens towards the end of his tenure at Fenway Park. Hurler Josh Beckett was roundly jeered by the hometown fans after a pathetic, albeit brief performance last night against Cleveland came on the heels of his missing a prior start that was allegedly preceded by a day on the golf course. If Jeff Van Gundy considered golf and god to be the two worst things to happen to the NBA, perhaps golf, beer, fried chicken and a shitty attitude are the four worst things to happen to Josh Beckett’s career. While comparing Beckett to one of the game’s bigger frauds, the Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti reminds us “Last summer, before the debacle that was September and after becoming a husband and father, Beckett freely admitted that baseball was not the most important thing in his life anymore..he should have just told us baseball has no meaning to him whatsoever.”
Near the end, Clemens got this way, too, remember. At this stage of his career, when he was in his early 30s, Clemens went 40-39 with a 3.77 ERA during a four-year span in which the Red Sox generally looked like they look now. Clemens was out of shape. He lost the fire who made him who he was. Clemens basically had three Cy Young Awards in the same pocket where Beckett now holds two World Series rings, and it certainly started to feel like the big guy was just cashing the checks and living off his reputation.
And so last night, there was Beckett again, telling us all that the off-days belong to him, that players only get 18 off-days during the season, the same way Clemens reminded us that the Red Sox had to carry their own bags through the airport. Clearly, you can only hide a life of entitlement for so long.
Do you even like what you do anymore, Josh? Do you? Or do you see your talent as some sort of needless burden? Five years ago, when Beckett was leading the Red Sox to their last world title, Red Sox officials spoke of Beckett having lofty goals, of him wanting to be a 300-game winner. Now they can’t get him to keep his weight down during the season. They can’t get him to stay off the golf course and do the prudent thing when he is scratched from a start with stiffness in his right lat muscle. The Red Sox just offer a series of meaningless, contradictory statement about Beckett’s injury, or non-injury, or work ethic, all seemingly because an admission of guilt or wrongdoing would reveal some weakness.