One of the things we dug about Josh Beckett coming to Boston, beyond his youth, his two-seam fastball, and the heightened possibility of a Leeann Tweeden sighting, is the intensity he’s gonna bring. Guy ain’t the sort you’d expect to find chatting with Remy about chai tea or the latest Everything But the Girl CD. And I’ve still got even money on him drop-kicking Tony Mazz at some point during the 2006 season.

We got the first whiff of just how quickly Beckett can go from mild-mannered pitcher to House of Pain-era Everlast during yesterday’s grapefruit battle with the Phillies, when he started jawbonin’ with Ryan Howard, a veritable behemoth at almost 260 pounds. Seconds later, both benches empty, with the mighty Rudy Seanez (!) leading the calvalry out of the bullpen.

Okay, so even contemplating a quick dance with Howard may not the best idea on paper. But seeing this display just a few games after the “accidental plunkfest” with New York tells me that the 2006 team has as much spice as its predecessors. And that’s a good thing.

Real baseball. Soon. Can you feel it?