Thursday, May 03, 2007

You at the back of the class
Josh Beckett's revival - is everyone enjoying this?

Okay now, hands up those citizens of Red Sox Nation who doubted in Josh Beckett? Raise those hands nice and high so we can see them. You, at the back, with the curly hair, what's your name, Dan? I don't care if you are a big shot journalist. Raise your hand.

Now, while holding your hand in the air for punishment, why, exactly, did you doubt so heavily in the ability of Josh Beckett? You knew he had the stuff, the pedigree. Why so, did you not think he could turn things around? Admittedly six starts a season does not make, however Beckett is now the first Red Sox starter since way back in 1991 to win his first six starts of the season. His 6-0 start is the first since Roger Clemens did it, sixteen years ago.

Beckett - breaking Yankee fans hearts in 2003 @ the World Series

Last year, despite winning 16 games for the Red Sox, Beckett came under heavy fire, due to his perceived hard-headedness and unwillingness to 'pitch' rather than 'throw'. Easy to say, when you are sitting comfortably behind a keyboard and not standing on the mound trying to get the ball past a dangerous Major League hitter.

When Beckett first came to Boston in 2006 most level headed media types accepted that it might take him a season to adjust from the less dangerous NL to the wildly dangerous AL, where the DH lurks in the shadows waiting to hit very long home runs. Beckett certainly had his struggles adjusting, however showed flashes of brilliance and yes, won sixteen games in his first season with the Sox.

For some, who had forgotten completely that Beckett was switching leagues and trying to find his 'Happy place', this was not enough. Far from it. Beckett was slated by media and fans alike, who pined like spoilt children for Hanley Ramirez and even Anibel Sanchez, the two players the Sox sent to Florida to bring Josh to Boston.

Dan Shaughnessy, the leader of the pack when it comes to acerbic verbal assaults on people, wrote in August:

''Beckett's ERA is 5.35 and he looks like he needs to stop listening to Dave Wallace and Al Nipper and go see Dr. Phil. ''

The folks who maintain the Red Sox fan site 'Firejoemorgan.com' wrote:

''Hardly anyone projected Beckett to stink as much as he has.''

This is my problem with the current state of sports journalism, amateur and professional, in regards the Boston Red Sox. The reactionary, aggressively negative ethos that some of those who follow Boston force on their readers is entirely objectionable, boring and very narrow sighted. Instead of understanding that Beckett, who was a World Series MVP in 2003 and posted a superb 2005 for the Marlins, might take a season to get acquainted to his new digs in the American League, one section of those who write about the Sox decided to absolutely slate him. They questioned the Sox for signing him and even, in Shaughnessy's case, question his mental stability.

Clearly Beckett is now very well adjusted to Boston, the AL and the DH. Clearly he has his Mojo back and he is now leading the way in one of the Major League finest and most feared rotations. My question is, the people that doubted him so aggressively, are they enjoying this? Or are they upset that someone they vilified so much has turned the corner and is now a vital cog in the Red Sox championship-drive?

A little understanding, patience and a better overall understanding would go a long way for some of the writers who follow the Red Sox. I don't understand how you could go through life being so horribly negative. I honestly don't get it, where is the joy or fulfillment in endlessly bashing people? I will never understand it. Be that all as it may, life goes on, and the rest of Red Sox Nation can now enjoy Beckett at his best.

I have been a fan of Beckett's since 2003. I have a DVD of his amazing game six start against that Yankee lineup that I like to watch sometimes the night before I pitch in the Irish league, just to watch an artist at work. I was delighted when the Sox picked him up and now that he has turned the corner as it were, it is thoroughly enjoyable watching him terrorise American League batters with his 97mph fastball and wicked curve.

You clowns with the dunce caps on in the imaginary class room I started this piece with, those negative few with their hands still in the air, you can just go stand in the corner.

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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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