The stories regarding the Boston Red Sox have been circulating through the media and their cult-like fan base since club’s epic collapse at the end of the 2011 baseball season. Pitchers drinking beer, playing video games and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse on their days off while the team went 7 – 21 last September. The departure of general manager Theo Epstein and the circus that surrounded the situation with respect to what the Sox would receive in return. The hiring of Bobby Valentine, who had not coached in the bigs in quite some time, and is known for not being shy about his opinions. The fact that new manager is the polar opposite of their old one and speaks his mind to the media about his players.
Now, add the story about Josh Beckett playing golf while supposedly being skipped in the rotation due to an injured lat. That’s right…the man at the center of “beer, video games and fried chicken-gate” has found himself embroiled in another controversy (whether or not it’s deserved is up to you). Beckett was spotted at a golf course in the Boston area on May 3rd, which was the day after he was scratched from his May 5th start.
There are 2 basic opinions to this story: 1) Who cares? A leisurely round of golf is just that, leisure. Just because he had a little discomfort that prevented him from throwing a 95 mph fastball doesn’t mean hitting a driver was going to do him any harm, and 2) What the hell is wrong with this guy? He’s a schmuck and a lazy ______ (insert your own expletive string here). If he wasn’t healthy enough to pitch he should be in the training room 24/7 getting treatment.
The reality of the situation probably lies somewhere in between the two extremes. Was it the best idea Beckett ever had? No, probably not. Is it that huge of a deal that he played a round of golf while experiencing some slight discomfort in his lat? Again, no, probably not
The one thing that people are overlooking is the fact that if the Sox were not currently “boasting” a win-loss record of 12-18 (.400) and were not 7 ½ games back in the American League East (in last place by 4 games), none of this would be an issue; Beckett would have just been having a relaxing afternoon on the links and Valentine’s candid statements to the media would be considered “refreshing in an era when coaches don’t really say much at all”. If the team didn’t crumble at the end of last year, the fact that pitchers were eating fried chicken, drinking beer and playing video games would have simply been “blowing off steam and building camaraderie”.
The bottom line is that when things are going good, the majority of what happens is skewed in a positive light and when things are going bed, those same occurrences are the end of the world. All Boston needs to do to get this mess to blow over is start winning; whether or not that happens is yet to be seen.