Gerry Callahan had an interesting piece in yesterday’s Herald (which you will be shocked to know does not once mention politics). The story starts out innocently as an opinion piece about the need for Josh Beckett to step up and be a leader both on and off the field in 2012, but quickly degenerates into a simple case of Beckett-bashing. He takes several shots at Beckett, calling him “the stubborn Texan” and referring to his demeanor as “the Josey Wales act.” And to be honest, I don’t entirely disagree with a lot of it. But then he gets carried away:
Beckett gets paid like an ace and treated like an ace, even though he has rarely pitched like an ace. He’s never won a Cy Young Award, never started an All-Star Game, never led the league in ERA or innings. At times, he has been a very good pitcher, but never a great one. With Beckett, somehow the performance never quite lives up to the personality.
Apparently Callahan was out of town for the entire 2007 season. Beckett was masterful start to finish, winning 20 of his 30 starts. Two of his losses came in July: one by the score of 2-1, the other 1-0. Beckett pitches eight innings in each of those. And when October rolled around, when you…say…need the performance to live up to the personality, Beckett was almost unhittable. He was 4-0 in the post-season giving up just four earned runs in 30 inning pitched.
And just when you think the rant couldn’t get any worse, it does. Fivehead ends up just rehashing the entire beer and chicken saga. Again. He even throws out the “phantom source” to take a few more digs:
Last season, when his team needed one win to reach the postseason, Beckett lost his last two decisions, both to Baltimore. He had one win in four starts in September, and by most accounts, wasn’t all that broken up about it. According to one former teammate, Beckett gave up on the season when he realized he had no shot to win his first Cy Young.
By most accounts? According to one former teammate? Intrepid reporting. Yes, his final two starts in September were abysmal, but even including those he still finished with a 2.89 ERA! Beckett had ten no decisions last season accounting for 61 of his innings pitched. He gave up a total of 13 earned runs in those starts, giving him an ERA of under two. In many statistical categories, Beckett’s 2011 season was superior to his 2007 performance. It just wasn’t reflected in the “W” column.
And for his parting shot, Callahan goes for the knockout with a blow about Beckett not being in shape:
If Beckett shows up looking like Jiminy Glick, Valentine has a big problem on his hands. Valentine needs Beckett to take responsibility for September and to set a good example for his fellow starters, but first thing’s first: He needs him to fit into his uniform.
Yeah, I had to look up “Jiminy Glick” too. I’m not trying to defend Beckett’s actions last September or his comments during the off-season, but let’s stick to the facts. Dismissing Beckett’s entire career based on two bad starts and some dumb comments. That’s over the top even for Gerry Callahan.