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Fake Outrage Alert: Bobby Valentine doesn’t like Josh Beckett playing golf

May 9, 2012, 5:28 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox manager Valentine watches pitchers work out at the Red Sox new Major League Baseball spring training facility in Fort Myers

Fried Chicken? Pfft! That’s yesterday’s faux scandal.  Today’s Red Sox Nation tempest-in-a-beer keg is golf:

According to 98.5 the Sports Hub, Beckett went out for a round of golf last Thursday, just two days before he missed a scheduled start against the Orioles because of back stiffness … It’s a development that has predictably become fodder for talk radio stations in town, and Bobby Valentine — a weekly guest on WEEI — was forced to answer questions about Beckett’s golf game this afternoon.

It was “less than the best thing to do” if Beckett played golf, Valentine said.

Eh. This is going to become a thing, I presume, in which Valentine is accused of feuding with a player and Beckett accused of being me-first instead of team-first. But let’s head this off, shall we?

As Valentine himself said, Beckett missed the start for precautionary reasons, not because he was actually injured. Beckett said he probably could have pitched. So this should not be a golf or a Josh Beckett-related “scandal.”

It is, however, another instance in which Bobby Valentine’s complete inability to defuse a media-created controversy — those radio guys talking about the golf — by mouthing some managerly platitudes creates a problem where there need not have been one.

Keep the focus off your players, Bobby. It’s the first lesson of Manager School.

  1. pjmitch - May 9, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I agree with Bobby V although he shouldn’t be discussing it outside the clubhouse. That is the problem

    • bigleagues - May 10, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      He didn’t “discuss it” outside the clubhouse. He gave a series of non answers before making the statement that Craig zeroed in on . . . which happened to be a response to a hypothetical “what if” the report is accurate question.

      And really . . . the answer he gave (while perhaps not what the narcissist Beckett wants to hear) is frank, appropriate and virtually non-controversial . . . except that Craig chose to attack Bobby Valentine on it and not the guy who is clearly in the wrong any way you slice it . . . Beckett.

      You’ll notice there hasn’t been any players (yet) publicly coming to Beckett’s defense (and I highly doubt there will be).

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 9, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    complete inability to defuse a media-created controversy — those radio guys talking about the golf

    According to 98.5 the Sports Hub, Bobby Valentine — a weekly guest on WEEI

    Nothing to see here folks, move along please.

  3. mybrunoblog - May 9, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Anyone with back issues knows golf won’t help. The twisting and turning when you tee off can wreak havoc on a bad back.
    What Bobby meant to says was ” I don’t gives a rats ass what Beckett does as long as he toe’s the rubber 34 times a season and wins 15 or 2o of those games”

  4. randygnyc - May 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Golf-gate is fast becoming big news here in NYC, even as one radio guy here has called for RS ownership to fine/suspend becket for contract violations. Apparently, before thursday it was announced Beckett was going to miss his next start because of a strained lat, then it was reported he was caught playing golf on thursday. This is going to blow up in 3-2-1.

  5. pellypell - May 9, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    “Keep the focus off your players”

    Nonsense, these are grown ass men, they get paid millions to stay healthy and put a good product on the field. Hold them accountable.

  6. baseballisboring - May 9, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Jesus christ, give me a break. Think about that statement…”less than the best thing to do”.

    Read it again…”less than the best thing to do”. I don’t know how a person could possibly put anything more mildly. To me, that sounds a lot like a managerly platitude. But now we all have to talk about it cause it’s Bobby V.

  7. randygnyc - May 9, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Boring- I think the way Bobby put it, “mildly”, was designed to actually show the enormity of the problem.

    • baseballisboring - May 9, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Hm, I dunno. To me it seems like he tried to be honest, but put it as mildly as he could at the same time so it wouldn’t turn into a big thing. But of course it has to.

  8. mianfr - May 9, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Yeah, I really have no idea how someone with a hurt back could play golf, or why someone whose back may soon become hurt would try to, so I honestly feel like this controversy is somewhat warranted.

    Unless Josh Beckett has absolutely the worst swing in the world and stands straight up to hit it, I guess.

    • pjmitch - May 9, 2012 at 6:26 PM

      If these guys had it in their contract that if they got hurt or missed games due to off the field activities they wouldn’t get paid, we would see a lot less of this BS

      • mianfr - May 9, 2012 at 6:49 PM

        Eh, I don’t have a problem with players golfing in general (although as a person who gets blisters extremely easily in golf, I don’t know why a pitcher ever would), it’s just the whole “we already think you may get hurt” angle that’s troublesome.

  9. astrosfan75956 - May 9, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Beckett has always been a me first player.

    • pisano - May 9, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      astrosfan75956……and a total a**hole

      • deathmonkey41 - May 10, 2012 at 8:50 AM


      • bigleagues - May 10, 2012 at 9:38 AM

        pisano is right. Beckett is a total a-hole . . . and he’s something else too that I won’t say here. But let’s just say no one should ever believe he is a well-adjusted guy.

  10. randygnyc - May 9, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    The controversy isn’t that he played golf during the season, plenty of players do. The problem is that Beckett declared himself injured and unavailable and then was caught playing golf.

    • lardin - May 10, 2012 at 8:44 AM

      He didnt declare himself hurt. Bobby V and Cherington made the decision for him. They were talking about it on the radio this morning.

  11. xmatt0926x - May 9, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    I don’t know. I think Valentine has been wrong to go at his players in the public a couple times this year but I’m not sure how else he could have answered that question. I’m not a RedSox fan so it’s no skin off my nose but should he be playing golf if there is even a question about back issues, even if he himself believes that he’s probably fine? Don’t you just pass up this weeks golf outing just to avoid any issues with the team that is paying you tens of millions of dollars?

  12. bigharold - May 9, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Listen up because I may never say this again; .. “Bobby Valentine is right on this one.”

    A pitcher with a history of back problems shouldn’t be playing golf during the season. Him couching it the way he did isn’t nor should it be considered controversial.

    The real issue is that managers in this day and age are on the radio almost daily basis. Hell, Valentine is on the local Boston radios and has a segment with one of the NY stations too. Between, cable, team owned and otherwise, .. local radio coverage and the beat reporters there was no way his question wasn’t going to get asked. That is part of the game today and frankly why agree to the interviews if your response is “.. mouthing some managerly platitudes”? It’s funny because some manages and players like Jeter for instance takes a lot of guff for never saying anything or taking in Clichés and yet as some as someone shows the least bit of candor they are taken to task for saying something.

    Like I’ve said before regarding Valentine; “He has the right to remain silent, .. but not the ability.”

    • jimbo1949 - May 9, 2012 at 8:53 PM

      Many thumbs up on the last line.

  13. lardin - May 9, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    If you have a bad back then Golf is absolutely the wrong activity to be doing. It will only make things worse. I have no problem with Becket or any player playing golf on their off day, but if you have a bad back and you go play and then end up missing start, dont get pissed when the allegations and questions start flying.

  14. bigleagues - May 9, 2012 at 8:24 PM



    You took Bobby Valentine’s statement out of the context of everything he said.

    But again we have an NBC property citing a report from an NBC/Comcast property who’s actually just regurgitating what another news outlet actually reported so I guess is should be expected that the story we’re being fed is here is incomplete.

    Valentine repeatedly framed his responses with the disclaimer that he did not have all the facts and that he wasn’t going to hammer Beckett without knowing exactly what the nature of the golf outing was – whether that be a charity appearance, putting or playing 18 holes. The response that Craig specifies here comes at the very end of the exchange as a response to “what if he had played 18 holes”.

    In all fairness all of Bobby V’s answers were on the mark.

    Also Craig conveniently forgot or was unaware that Beckett had not been truthful about a , which led Valentine to leave Beckett in.

    To his credit, but only after being hammered about it, Beckett admitted he was wrong to have not been truthful with Valentine.

    The announcement to skip the Saturday start was made on Wednesday. The next day Beckett was allegedly out playing golf.

    Here is the link to where the story was actually initially reported:

    And here is the link to the interview that Valentine gave:

    And Valentines comments in a fuller context:

    “I don’t know that I’m aware of it. I’m aware of the story being out there,” Valentine said. “I haven’t gotten to Josh about that yet. I’m trying to sort out my feelings. Golf is as much a part of the pitching culture as the curveball, I know that for sure. You know, when we decided for Josh not to make his start, it wasn’t that he was injured. It was just a precautionary situation. His lat was a little tight. Again, I don’t know the specifics of this situation. I don’t know if he was out in a charity match and just putting or if he was wailing away or if he felt that might have loosened him up. I have no idea what the situation actually is so it’s hard for me to comment on it.”

    Valentine was asked what his opinion would be if the story was indeed accurate.

    “If that was the case, I would say that was less than the best thing to do on that day off,” Valentine said.

    • Francisco (FC) - May 10, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Careful there Big Leaguer… Craig WILL have your car towed if you annoy him too much…

      • bigleagues - May 10, 2012 at 9:34 AM


  15. bigleagues - May 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    edit function – delete “Also Craig conveniently forgot or was unaware that Beckett had not been truthful about a , which led Valentine to leave Beckett in.”

  16. randygnyc - May 9, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Big leagues-precisely what I posted above. Craig didn’t bother reporting that Beckett declared himself hurt and unavailable then was caught golfing.

    • bigleagues - May 10, 2012 at 9:18 AM

      Right on. sorry I missed it initially! I was too frenzied by Craig’s rare incomplete but (I suspect intentionally) incendiary post on this subject.

  17. randygnyc - May 9, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Just read the complete story on IMO, this is a really bad reflection on Beckett and he’s a very bad influence on Bucholz, who was golfing with him. Bobby most recent comments show that Bobby has been emasculated by RS ownership and he mealy-mouthed his way through his comments. Underneath BV is fuming. I expect he’ll get even somehow.

    I don’t see the RS competing until they remove the obvious cancers in their clubhouse. I’m not sure who’s got to go, but Youklis, beckett, Bucholz pedroia and Ellsbury have proven they can’t all be teammates. (I intentionally left Lackey off the list because I don’t even know if he shows up to games anymore but he’s untradeable, so the RS are stuck with him anyway).

    • bigleagues - May 10, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      Beckett’s a bad influence on everyone he comes in contact with. He is a narcissistic lumbering, humpback over-sized webelo – but worse – a poisonous clubhouse mold which needs to be eradicated.

      I didn’t like it when the Red Sox acquired him. I tolerated and even mildly defended his performance – when he produces. But its become apparent over the last 12 months that he is ground zero when it comes to the bad chemistry that pervades this clubhouse.

      It would not surprise me in the least if his permanent removal from that team would have a similar net effect that the purging of Nomar’s sour puss had.

  18. neelyisgod - May 9, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Bring back Zimmer…and Pedro

  19. nixonotis - May 9, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Meh, I like you Craig, but this has a bitch of a “witch hunt” feel to it. I know Bobby isn’t the most likeable or reasonable of managers, but do we need to nitpick each and every statement? The fact is that the team is performing badly. That’s it. If it weren’t for that, I doubt very much that innocuous statements like these would become so blown out of proportion. I agree, Bobby would be best served by keeping his mouth shut, but that doesn’t mean we need to overreact to everything he says.

    • nixonotis - May 10, 2012 at 3:26 AM

      Why the hell did I write “bitch” instead of “bit?” I’d blame it on my girlfriend, but she dumped me months ago.

  20. proudliberal85392 - May 9, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Those of us outside Boston would like to voice a hearty “Who cares?”

  21. mungman69 - May 10, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    Something about nothing

  22. chumthumper - May 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Golf. Doesn’t that fall into the category of risky behavior that should be avoided, such as bull riding, knife throwing and skateboarding down the Mass Turnpike? No, it falls into the category of WHO CARES!

    • bigleagues - May 10, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      It falls into the category of “who cares” when you don’t have an understanding of Kinesiology and the fact that Josh Beckett is a perennially poorly conditioned athlete.

      Depending on how one approaches his or her golf game, the body (specifically the shoulders, chest and torso) can generate an enormous amount of torque.

      If you are already injured, or at an increased risk for additional injury and you just happen to be paid $16+ million per year to PITCH PROFESSIONALLY (not play Golf as an amateur) then you should probably avoid playing Golf – at least until the reason you are missing the Start (two days ahead) has resolved itself.

  23. dino8590 - May 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    i think it is so funny, a reporter writing a sarcastic article or blog about a situation they heard…..Maybe if you were around this city pal you would understand why playing golf when you are skipping your next start is wrong. Lets start with chicken and beer last year, a group of players who just get payed and do not care to stay in shape, then there is the drinking in the dugout then there is beckett not owning up to the fact that he was wrong, fans here pay the highest ticket prices in all of baseball, for what? A bunch of players who do not care and the fact is evident with bucholz and beckett going golfing. How can you blame Bobby V for not diffusing the situation.? As far as I can see none of these players deserve to be protected, maybe you as a reporter would know that, but for some reason everyone these days has to protect players for being cowardly gutless frauds!

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