I'm no fan of mainstream sports reporting. I don't watch any ESPN coverage, I don't read any newspaper's sports page, and decorated sports writers like Peter King and Mitch Albom make me want to vom. I go to the ESPN website quite often because, even though its analysis is terrible, it is the best and most efficient way to get news about what's happening in sports.
Today on the ESPN front page, there is a featured story about Josh Beckett's terrible start, and particularly about his comments after the game. I didn't hear his comments after the game, so I clicked on the link to find out what he said. What did Gordon Edes, writer for ESPN Boston, overblow this time? What did he overreact to today? Is he going to blame the Red Sox recent ridiculous struggles on one pitcher's piss poor attitude?
The article is a straight-out attack on Josh Beckett. It is merciless. It's sarcastic. It's condescending. If Skip Bayless or Colin Cowherd had written it, it would've been racist. But it's weird in this respect: if you take away the childish sarcasm, I actually agree with the assessment.
Edes blasts Beckett for his comments after the Sox lost to the Indians last night, in a game in which Beckett lasted 2 1/3 innings giving up 7 runs. Beckett had been skipped in his last turn in the rotation because of tightness in his lat muscle. Fine. The next day, an off-day for the Red Sox, Beckett went golfing. Pitchers miss starts because of relatively minor issues all the time -- no sense in aggravating something for no good reason. And starting pitchers play golf all the time, presumably. Between starts, you don't need to be working out and preparing 24 hours a day. Playing golf is sort of fine. But playing golf the day after you were scratched from your start, the day after you were deemed physically unable to do your job for which you get paid almost $16 million a year, could be construed as suspect. I don't see it as THAT big of a deal, but I'd rather see him resting or doing something to make himself feel better.
Then Beckett goes out last night to pitch. His pitches were flat, his command was non-existant, and he gave up a home run to goddamn Jack Hannahan. If the reporters had not asked Beckett about the golfing, and about whether it had contributed to a shit performance on the mound, they wouldn't have been doing their jobs. But Beckett refused to even acknowledge the validity of the question. He said this:
"We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves."
This is not a case of someone being misquoted because he is taken out of context. He responded to this question: "Do you understand the perception [that golfing after missing a start] leaves when the team is playing as poorly as it is?" Beckett refused to honor a question about his job, for which he gets paid $15.75 million, because he can do whatever he wants on off days. Because he only gets 18 per year.
Josh Beckett does not get 18 off days a year. If Josh Beckett doesn't miss a start during the year, he gets over 300 off days. He has to pitch 32 times in the regular season, plus playoffs and spring training, and then he gets the best seats possible to every single Red Sox game from March to October. I understand that every day that he doesn't pitch isn't tantamount to an off day, but if you think that Josh Beckett isn't drinking Mountain Dew and getting his dick sucked in the clubhouse 4 out of every 5 days during the season, you're just not thinking hard enough.
I understand that he has to travel a lot, and that he has to maintain that...rugged physique...but come on. And on top of that, he gets 4 months off. If someone told me that I had to do Josh Beckett's work schedule, and I'd receive $15.75 million in payment for a year of it, I'm pretty sure the last thing I'd do would be to quibble about my 18 days off and my me time. I would feel really stupid saying that. I would come off like an ungrateful dickhead, and not only would I come off like an ungrateful dickhead, I'd be an ungrateful dickhead. Throw in the fact that literally millions of people care about the fact that Josh Beckett takes his job seriously and performs it well, and this makes Josh Beckett a true dickhead among dickheads.
So this time, even though the attitude behind it is piddly and shithead-esque, I agree with the mainstream assessment of Beckett's comments. I'm having trouble seeing how Edes blew this out of proportion or made a story out of nothing. I think this is a story, and I think Edes has the right to be angry. I'm angry. The only thing that's not newsworthy about this is the fact that Josh Beckett is a dick. We already knew that. We just didn't necessarily know that he's an Oden.
And another thing! FUCK YOU KOBE