Tuesday, August 15, 2006
My Plea To Josh Beckett
Two months ago, I was contemplating on whether to get a Papelbon t-shirt or a Beckett one. I mulled over my decision for a good two or three weeks (about 13 or 20 days too much) and finally made up my mind...wisely going with The Boy Wonder, Jon Papelbon. And man am I happy with my purchase. Had I have gotten Beckett's, I would have come very close to having a three-days worth supply of navy blue toilet paper in my downstairs bathroom.
Josh Beckett, you have one more chance with me..
Does Beckett have any idea who am I am? No. Would he even give a shit about me if I somehow got to meet him? Probably not. But as an active member of Red Sox Nation and a blindly optimistic Red Sox fan, he better give a damn about letting this season slip away.
I recall seeing ESPN's 'Bottom Line' running the "BREAKING NEWS: Red Sox acquire P Josh Beckett from Marlins" and nearly jumping out of my seat. I mean, this was the guy who dominated the Yanks in the '03 World Series, in Yankee Stadium mind you. This was the #2 pick overall a few years back. This was the guy who had dominated the NL for years with his 98 mph fastball and knee-buckling change up.
This was our guy..
Beckett started the year 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA. I was already on MLB.com pre-ordering my "Red Sox 2006 World Series Champions" t-shirt. It was our year, again. Matched up with a healthy Schilling, we had the 1-2 punch we had in '04 with Pedro and Schilling. This was our year, again. Two titles in three years? Are you kidding me?? I couldn't wait. In late-April I was already researching bottles of champagne to pop in mid-October when Papelbon shuts the door in a 5-game win over the Mets.
Man it was gonna be sweet..
I was in Yankee Stadium when Beckett beat the Yankees on May 9th. 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 Ks. Tough to ask anything more from a Boston pitcher when he heads to the Bronx. Then, less than a month later, 6/5, I was ready for more magic from Beckett. As I sat down on my couch, typically sporting a Sox shirt for the big game, I imaged Beckett beating the Yankees again. I remembered the '03 series. I remembered the game a month before where I witnessed Hideki Matsui go down for the year AND Josh Beckett deflate any hope of the Yankee fans. Now, I had the best seat in the house (my Dad's couch) and primed for it again.
1.1 IP, 7 ER, 1 K..
(To put it in Lehmen's terms, Beckett had his lunch handed to him.)
It was almost as if Beckett was throwing BP to the Bronx Bombers. It was awful. My faith in Beckett unraveled right in front of my very eyes as I saw him smirk as he finally got taken out of the game.
Some might say that injuries to the starting pitching are the reason why the Sox are out of the playoffs as of now, and have some major work to do if they want to claim a spot. Well I don't buy that. I place the blame directly on the big right arm of Josh Beckett. Manny and Ortiz could arguably finish 1st and 2nd in the MVP voting, while Papelbon and Schill could each be in the top-5 of the Cy Young voting. I know Boomer and Wake have missed time (and don't get me going on Clement) but the state of the Sox rides on Josh Beckett.
When we acquired him, we expected two aces. We expected two 20-game winners. We expected two sub-3.50 ERA guys. We expected a World Series ring. Well, we got one of those. And then we got another guy who we traded away some uber-prospects for, who has one of the best arms in the league, who can blow a hitter away, but hasn't put it together yet.
And he's running out of time with me..
I'm giving Beckett a pass as of yet. At least he's stayed healthy. That's fine, good for him. But he has one more chance with me if he wants to salvage my confidence, but more importantly, the Red Sox season. We can't go anywhere without him, and this weekend is his last chance.
Sports pundits everywhere have deemed this weekend's five game Yanks-Sox series in Fenway "Armageddon." And they're right. If the Yanks come into our house and kick us around, the AL East race is over. As of now, they hold a 2 game lead. By the time the series starts, it could easily be up to 4. If the Sox take 3 of 5 (at least), well, the race for the AL East crown is just getting started. And what game will all eyes, especially mine, be on??
Saturday, August 19th. 1:20 p.m. Beckett vs. Johnson
This is Beckett's final chance to salvage his season with the Red Sox. Biggest series of the season. National TV. Biggest rivalry in baseball. A chance to bounce back.
This is it. You have one more chance, or the Red Sox are done..