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Jeff Passan’s outrage at Josh Beckett goes to 11

May 11, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Josh Beckett AP

Look, it was apparent as of last night that Josh Beckett was going to get ripped to shreds for the next few days, but I don’t think I was prepared to see as much vitriol thrown his way as Jeff Passan does in his column this morning:

The rot in the Boston Red Sox organization runs too deep for cosmetic upgrades, and nobody better personifies it than Josh Beckett, the clueless, defiant egomaniac who’s poisoning another Red Sox season.

He describes all that has gone down — from beer and chicken through the off-day golf — and then says “This is about common sense, decency and responsibility.”  Which is the same as saying that Beckett is senseless, indecent and irresponsible.

I dunno. It’s one thing to point to an instance of performance and/or behavior and say “that is bad” or “that is dumb.”  It’s another, far more serious thing altogether to say “that person is a piece of shit,” which is what Passan is doing here.  And I just don’t understand what puts anyone who is not close to him in the position to make such an assessment, at least on the facts we know about him and which are being reported.

Is Beckett the quintessential team player? Doesn’t sound like it.  Has he made the best decisions, both in his conditioning and his public attitude and stances? No.

But it seems a little extreme to me to go from pointing out flaws in the man and his game to such sharp, sweeping character assessments as Passan does here.

  1. anotheryx - May 11, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    I gave up on Sox for a while there… but I must admit I could not be more wrong. This train wreck is so much more entertaining than winning.

  2. zakharovsa - May 11, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Move over, Cole and Bryce, Beckett’s about to take over the “most commented posts” list!

    My sports journalism pet peeve is writers (and fans) who pretend to have a complete handle on a guy’s personality. Until he shoots a man in Reno just to watch him die, can we stop pretending he’s the worst jerk in the history of jerks?

    Ugh, I’m a Yankee fan and this is my fifth post defensing Josh Beckett today. I must perform penance.

    • zakharovsa - May 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      And of course I typo “defending” as “defensing.” EDIT FUNCTION

      • anotheryx - May 11, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        First we make expand, then we defense it.

      • Amsterdamned - May 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM

        White-Ra reference on Hardballtalk?

        *checks to make sure he hasn’t tabbed over to r/starcraft*

        White-Ra reference on Hardballtalk. I like it!

    • phillyphreak - May 11, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      True. First he would have to hear that whistle blowin and hang his head and cry..

    • purnellmeagrejr - May 11, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      It’s sports – I put all this stufff in brackets, as it were. Just like somebody making an “heroic atttempt” or showing “courage” by hittting a free throw – I just remember that we’re talking about sports – I love ‘em but don’t mistake them for reality.

  3. thelucasjj - May 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Passan seems to have a real flare for the dramatics anymore. Any hot topic he goes after with the extremes. To add to this piece, look at his one for Rivera and the relapse before the season of Josh Hamilton.

    • Amsterdamned - May 11, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      Yeah, it’s odd, I don’t seem to remember him being this way. Being in a Yahoo fantasy league with some friends for quite a while now and I remember seeing his articles start to show and thinking he was a pretty good writers. But over the past couple of years he’s become more and more sensationalist. I have to wonder if Yahoo Sports itself doesn’t play a large part in that.

      They’ve tried more and more over the past few years to try and become a legit destination for sports fans to get their news, but as of now it seems like page views are their main concern and one definite way to get those views is to write incendiary, highly opinionated articles. Maybe they asked Passan to start being “that” guy, kind of their own TJ Simers type of asshole.

      • petey1999 - May 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        I couldn’t agree more – it IS all about page views and, concurrently, hyperbolic headlines. This extends to virtually all of the web from sports to political commentary. The only defense for thoughtful people is to ignore the extremists.

  4. drakosm - May 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Adrian Gonzalez should buy Beckett a fruit basket (or a bucket of fried chicken) to thank him for taking over the position of scapegoat number 1 in the Red Sox organization.

    • rollinghighwayblues - May 11, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      I don’t get it?

      Adrian Gonzalez should be the scapegoat? For what? Oh yeah, I forgot, he’s a starting pitcher for the Red Sox, a staff that is one of the worst in the league.

      • drakosm - May 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        No, making Adrian Gonzalez the scapegoat is moronic but members of the Boston media were doing just that earlier in the week. Maybe it was just one member of the media but the article I read was as bad as anything written about Beckett today.

    • casey5jones - May 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Actually, they already had a scapegoat — Tito. As for the next scapegoat? We all know the one who is going to take the blame for all this is Booby Valentine.

      It’s too bad. You take away the starting pitching and the Sox are actually playing pretty good baseball, all of the position players are having themselves nice little years (most of them anyway). You can’t blame the bullpen either when your SP doesn’t last more than 5 innings every day.

  5. proudlycanadian - May 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Where is the criticizm of Lester and Buchholz? They are also pitching poorly.

    • themohel - May 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Perhaps it has something to do with Josh acting like a spoiled, self-indulgent child; while the other two act like adults?

      • drewsylvania - May 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        Passan-esque conclusion-jumping.

    • rollinghighwayblues - May 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      That’s what I’m saying. Taking Beckett’s numbers out of the equation, the other four starting pitchers average ERA is 5.81.

    • jimeejohnson - May 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      Check comments section of Boston Globe. You will read scathing criticism of these two underachievers.

      • proudlycanadian - May 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM

        I haven’t been there for a while. It can be fun to read Red Sox fans dump on their own team; however when a Yankee or Blue Jay fan dumps on the Red Sox, the Boston fans rally around their players. The press in Boston is often vicious. A common word in the Boston sports media is “Blame”.

  6. nobody78 - May 11, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Craig’s cautions about the overheated rhetoric and the absurdity of personally vilifying Josh Beckett are of course well-taken, but speaking as a Yankee fan, it seems to me he’s missing one crucial piece of the story:

    This is all just so awesome.

  7. zidanevalor - May 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston pretty much wrote the same article this morning.

    http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/7917942/defiant-josh-beckett-just-get-it

  8. charbycharlie - May 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    The guy’s article is pretty strong, but the truth hurts sometimes.

  9. sportsland33 - May 11, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Critic to the Critics.

  10. Cris E - May 11, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Yes, yes it is time to dismantle the entire organization, sell off those richy rich veterans, each flaunting a sense of entitlement, a huge contracts and poor performance. It it time to fire the staff, salt the fields of Fenway and promote all those strong young men from the minors and step forward into the future…

    …a future where the organization will be town to pieces by this same herd of dirtbag writers when they aren’t in the World Series in 2013. How can you beat the Yankees with a lineup this weak? You have all the money in the world and you won’t spend it! This kid is certainly no Beckett! Now *there’s* a guy who knew how to win. Etc etc etc. My God I hate the Boston press, and I’m a time zone away.

    • Cris E - May 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Edits: contract (no s), torn to pieces, etc.

  11. stevem7 - May 11, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Ahhh Craig, Craig, Craig. Tis truly sad to see you with the luster in your eyes, the GAGA over Beckett is a big star baseball player. In point of fact Passan just sees Beckett for what he is … an extremely flawed individual who thinks he is better than everyone else. Once you get past your adoration and truly look at this guy, he is no better than OJ Simpson. Beckett thinks the rules don’t apply to him and because of that he should be called for exactly what he is.

    • themohel - May 11, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      Same underlying sense of entitlement as OJ, perhaps, but there is a difference between murder and Josh’s escapades, no?

      • stevem7 - May 11, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        Absolutely there is a difference between OJ and Beckett. But the mindset, the entitlement attitude, the I’m better than everyone else is exactly the same.

    • aceshigh11 - May 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      You’re comparing Josh Beckett (a thoroughly miserable character, no doubt) to a sociopath who probably murdered two people in cold blood?

      That’s a bridge too far, my friend.

      • deathmonkey41 - May 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        Probably???

      • aceshigh11 - May 11, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        Ha! I know, I know…I’m just trying to be legalistic here.

      • bigleagues - May 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        You haven’t heard? The real killer is still out there.

  12. LPad - May 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    I really don’t get this story. Up until now, I thought most pitchers played golf inbetween starts. I remember Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine playing golf on every road trip for about 15 years and the media asking them who beat who and bragging how great a golfer Smoltz is/was. And it wasn’t just them, good or bad pitchers, in shape or out of shape have played golf inbetween starts. If the hitters got a day off, half of them would go play golf.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      It’s simple, players do A, team wins; therefore A is either never discussed or considered a big deal (see your Braves comments). However, if players do A, team loses, then A is obviously either a cause of losing or not helping matters.

      Think about ’04, guys like Millar were bragging about doing shots of Jack(?) in the clubhouse before games. They win the WS and the media treats them like loveable idiots who are just out there having a good time, taking shots to ease the tension of the playoffs. Fastforward to 2011, players are eating and drinking in the clubhouse on their off days [heaven forbid!] and it’s seen as endemic to the type of season they are having.

      It’s a narrative, nothing more. Beckett has been this kind of person since childbirth. You need the arrogance and attitude to be a 23 year old and pitch a complete game shutout in G6 of the WS in Yankee Stadium.

    • mississippimusicman - May 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      I was scrolling down on my way to post the exact same thing. Golf is not necessarily a bad thing for pitchers to play, apparently.

  13. LPad - May 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Also, if Beckett’s not in shape. It’s his fault, however during spring training management should of shut him down and told him he’s not pitching until he gets in shape. The trainers will put him on a fitness/nutrition plan and then he will go to extended spring training until he is ready.

    It’s Beckett’s fault he didn’t come to camp in shape. However, where is the damage control by Red Sox management. Get him in shape so he will pitch well.

    • 18thstreet - May 11, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      Shouldn’t the basic MLB contract cover this? It’s their job to be able to pitch. Being out of shape seems to me to be breach of contract (I’m not a lawyer).

  14. Chris Schutte - May 11, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I generally trust Gordon Edes opinion and access and he apparently thinks that “this person is a piece of shit”.

  15. dexterismyhero - May 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    What does Theo think?

    :>)

    • El Bravo - May 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      Theo thinks Beckett would be good in the Cubs bullpen.

  16. AlohaMrHand - May 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    and somewhere Terry Francona can’t help but smile

  17. mississippimusicman - May 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    How about this: When you have one pitcher struggling, worry about your pitching. When ALL your pitchers are struggling, worry about your defense. How is the rotation’s DIPS? I’m a big fan of good statistical analysis, but I’m also too lazy to do the math/research for a team I don’t even really follow.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 11, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&players=0&sort=15,d

      2012 sorted FIP. Sox are 2nd to last [Twins are worse].

      • mississippimusicman - May 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        Thank you.

        I did a bit of digging with defensive metrics, and as bad as the pitching has been, the defense has been pretty crappy too. Boston has the fourth-worst UZR in the AL, Salty the worst defensive catcher in the league by DRS, and Pedroia has the worst UZR of any regular second baseman in the league. There’s also the psychological effect of not being able to trust the defense, and what that does to a pitcher’s approach – which will sway the defense-independent stats (which is why there’s no such thing as real defense-independent pitching stats).

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 11, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        Be careful though, one full season worth of UZR data is bad enough to base any conclusions on (need at least three), let alone just a month or so. It’s how you end up with weird things like the Royals high rankings in SI.com’s power rankings since their team UZR was very good.

        However, considering they have backups playing all 3 outfield positions and one infield, I doubt their defensive efficiency is very high.

  18. 1historian - May 11, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Not that I care but:

    Who is Jeff Passan?

    • bigleagues - May 11, 2012 at 6:05 PM

      Basically he does what we all do, but he does it better, usually with some facts and he gets paid for it by Yahoooooooo.

  19. mogogo1 - May 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    I don’t know about “indecent” but “senseless” and “irresponsible” are certainly accurate descriptions of Beckett. If you’re too hurt to play the sport you’re paid to play, then you shouldn’t run out and take part in another sport. That’s pretty easy for most to figure out. And no doubt that sets a horrible example for teammates and hurts morale in the clubhouse.

  20. yournuts - May 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Having tightnes in your pitching arm and your manager skipping your start is one thing. I wonder if the Red Sox were winning would you all care if Beckett played golf? Ate Chicken and drank beer in the club house? Well they were doing this during the years they were winning! So what’s wrong with it now? Rex Sox media and fans NEED someone or some event to blame. Hey Sox fans you don’t need anyone to blame. Josh Beckett is not to blame, in fact he is right, how he spends his off days is his own business, not yours! If you want to blame him then release him or trade him. Maybe you can get something better than the man who won 2 world series?

  21. Craptastics9 - May 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    I lost my fantasy league last year because I auto-drafted and ended up with Josh Beckett on my team.
    So you’re thinking “He should have won it for you!”. I waived him because I am a Yankee fan and he is the biggest prick in baseball, and I love these stories that prove it.
    If I had Dustin Pedroia on my team I would be upset that I had a Red Sox player on my team, but I would be okay with it because I respect him as a baseball player and a human being. I would never boo Pedroia, Ellsbury, Papi, or Youk…I hate that they do well for a team that I hate, but they are great baseball players. Becakett is just a supreme butt-wipe.

    • 18thstreet - May 11, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      How did a guy talking about his fantasy team get 4 thumbs up?

      RECOUNT!

    • bigleagues - May 11, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      I just made it 5 because the dude has credibility! He’s a Yankees fan first and fantasy baseball player second. I happen to be a Red Sox fan first and fantasy player second.

      In 20+ years of playing fantasy baseball I have NEVER had a single Yankees player on my roster until this year. I drafted Michael Pineda because I was gonna flip him to a Yankees fan for a Starter I wanted.

      Now I’m stuck with Pineda on the DL on my roster for the year.

      Not that it would have mattered. The Pitcher I was gonna trade for was Clay Buchholz.

      Talk about your convoluted schemes, eh? Never again.

  22. bucsnsincity - May 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Clean house… Start w/ the idiotic trio and that jack@$$ valentine, Francona should still be the manager

    • petey1999 - May 11, 2012 at 2:47 PM

      Well, that’s helpful…

  23. jackeerose - May 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    At this point, all I can do is shake my head in disappointment. True, Beckett had a terrible night last night, but he’s had bad nights before this as well as many good ones… Our entire starting rotation has lost … something… we can’t blame it all on one guy… I just hope that they can turn this season around soon!

  24. ezwriter69 - May 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    You truly are clueless, Calcaterra.
    If Beckett cares at ALL about the Red Sox, or about baseball, or about how he performs for 490K per start, he’s done a fine job of hiding it. People just want him to at least pretend that he gives a flying bleep. For literally a half a million dollars per start, they’d like him to appear as though he cares at least a little when he performs so miserably. His response yesterday seemed a deliberate attempt to alienate and offend fans, to make it clear that THEY may be distraught over his performance, but to him it’s just a job, like any other guy punching a time clock.
    No one likes a guy who makes that kind of money and doesn’t appear to appreciate it one bit, and who appears utterly unwilling to actually work for that money. Eighteen days off? C’mon. More like eighteen WEEKS off. I work 250 days a year, for a couple thousand times less money than Josh. I care more about the quality of my work, I work harder by FAR at my job, than he does at his.
    Yes, this article is right on, it doesn’t go over the top one bit.
    Give a bleep, Beckett. Just give a bleep. Until you do, I’ll be booing, and wishing for nothing but bad things for you (on the field). Go to bleep, and take the utterly oblivious Calcaterra with you. As much hate as Calcaterra spews at players far less offensive than Beckett, he stands up for Beckett??? Seriously????
    Hmm… if he was not a white guy, would there be a different reaction? If he were a black man with the identical attitude, would the reaction be different from Calcaterra? I’m not at all sure…

    • frenchymcspaniard - May 11, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Racism? Really? Go watch golf, Bro. Your racist innuendos work so much better in that arena.

    • brohancruyff - May 11, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      This is just spectacularly dumb.

  25. frenchymcspaniard - May 11, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Passan is a douche. Plain and simple. However, YAHOO is hemorrhaging money right now so they’re paying to write about baseball, of which he knows very little. I stopped reading Yahoo Sports articles long ago because they treat their sports journalism the same way they treat their astrology, no care as to accuracy.

    Josh Beckett’s “soreness” was only so Aaron Cook could be brought up from AAA before the deadline. It had nothing to do with any soreness or injury. So yeah, he played golf. Beckett never said he was injured, Valentine never said it, Cherrington never said it. Passan can go work at the National Enquirer or the Star. His talent for bloated sensationalist bullsh*t should serve him well there…

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