|Beckett Bogeyed with Golf Outing||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on May 15, 2012
While Red Sox Nation expects those spots to be the catcher’s glove on the corners of the plate, Beckett had something else in mind earlier last week. Those “spots” were the greens on a golf course with a 9-iron -- not a fastball -- as the weapon of choice.
Though MLB players are entitled to spend their off days any way they want, Beckett went golfing the day after he missed a start recovering from a sore lat muscle. Naturally, the Boston media haven’t been shy about badgering Beckett with questions.
Photo by Keith Allison, used under creative commons license.
Beckett did not help his cause after giving up seven runs in two-plus innings against the Cleveland Indians last Thursday in his first start after hitting the links. During the post-game media conference, he was short with reporters and kept reiterating that he can do whatever he wants on his off days.
The problem with this whole situation is that Beckett is still in the doghouse in Boston for being part of the group that would be eating fried chicken, drinking beer and playing video games in the clubhouse during games last season.
Given the Red Sox early season struggles, the fanbase had no patience with Beckett after hearing about the golf situation. The supposed ace of the staff, Beckett is just 2-4 on the year with a 5.97 ERA through his first six starts.
Beckett is paid large sums of money to be a baseball player, not a golfer. While he certainly is entitled to an off day, it would seem that he would have used his experiences from last season’s clubhouse fallout to make a smarter decision.
To make matters worse, Beckett did not seem remorseful at all. He said he would not hurt himself any further playing golf, but if that’s the case, why couldn’t he make his scheduled start?
He said the team was just being careful and that he was ready to pitch it the team had agreed. However, this situation would have received even more negative attention had Beckett hurt himself on the golf course.
The Fenway faithful reigned down a chorus of “boos” on Beckett as he walked off the mound after his short-lived start against the Indians. Good thing he didn’t have his caddy drive him off the field in a golf cart.
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan wrote late last week that Beckett might have hit the “point of no return” in Boston. His image in the public’s eye is at an all-time low, and it comes at a time when the morale in Boston is low to begin with.
The Red Sox are a franchise that doesn’t respond well to negative public relations. Just look back to the Manny Ramirez situation in summer 2008. He got into an altercation the Red Sox 64-year-old travel secretary and later failed to run out ground balls to protest his contract situation. In the blink of eye, he was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It might be too early for the same fate to befall Beckett. The incidents are there, and the fans are not happy with the overall state of the team.
Beckett will have to turn it around fast to win back the support of the fans. He wouldn’t want his double bogey to become a triple bogey.