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Can John Lackey become a fan favorite in Boston?

Jan 2, 2013, 8:30 AM EDT

john lackey getty Getty Images

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe has a list of Red Sox predictions for 2013. They’re a fun read, not because any of them will necessarily come to pass, but because so many of them are so very Red Sox. Here’s one, however, that not a lot of people would bank on:

Fans will come to like John Lackey. Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, too. Lackey may not always say the right thing, but he goes about his business professionally and competes when he’s on the mound.

I get Gomes and Victorino. They annoy some folks, but generally not the fans of the teams for which they play.

Lackey, though, seems to have brought out so much ire among the fans and the Red Sox press. Way more than seems warranted based on his actions (hey, no one forced the Sox to give him that contract), but so much that it seems hard to imagine him becoming well-liked among the fans.

I guess anything is possible, but barring a Red Sox championship run — which Abraham does not predict, as he believes there is too much ground to make up — I feel like Lackey will be, at best, a sore reminder of a couple of bad seasons for the Sox.


  1. pisano - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    If his era is over six again he’s not going to be liked in Boston, he’ll remind the Boston fans what they are trying to forget, and this guy is always looking to blame someone or something else for his bad outings.

    • townballblog - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      Maybe so, Pisano. But if he is able to come back and be the pitcher he was in LA then Red Sox fans will absolutely love him. They will love him for the same reasons they hated J.D Drew and Beckett and the same reasons they love Pedroia and Youkilis…He is an extremely emotional player and he is not afraid to show it (on the filed not to the press).

      Beckett always yelled into his glove and JD always seemed lackadaisical (though I maintain he wasn’t). Youkilis and Bam-Bam were/are never afraid to yell, swear, curse, spit, etc. out loud in front of the cameras and that is one of the things, along with beong great players, that made them fan favorites.

      • teaspoon1731 - Jan 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        Thing is, my memory of Lackey in LA is him throwing a temper tantrum on the mound while the Sox smacked him around. So really, I don’t see anything different from him during his time in Boston. Never liked him, never will.

      • bigharold - Jan 2, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        “They will love him for the same reasons they hated J.D Drew and Beckett …”

        Perhaps but if he gets off to a poor start, .. then he’s screwed. With his recent past AND the RS getting rid of the other expensive FA mistakes he doesn’t have the luxury of a misstep. He has an uphill battle to win over the Nation with little margin for error. And, Lackey was a decent pitcher but never a dominant one and never in the AL East. So, starting in a hole, little room for error, .. I wouldn’t be surprised if he not only didn’t become a fan favorite, .. but the RS trade him as soon as he shows he’s healthy and he shows some signs of returning to form.

        Not the the RS couldn’t use a pitcher like that but I’m thinking it might be better tat he not be that guy.

      • townballblog - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:17 PM

        Bigharold – that is a very valid point.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    So Pete Abraham has a sense of humor. Who knew?

    • bigharold - Jan 2, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Wait until the annual declaration from the Boston media that the RS have the best pitching in the AL East, .. AL, .. MLB. Talk about a hoot!

  3. proudlycanadian - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    I predict that Bard will be banished to the minors. He stunk last season, but his decline began in September 2011. In that month, he was 0 and 4 with a 10.64 ERA. Over 11 innings he struck out 11 but walked 9. John Farrell will not be able to resurrect Bard this time out.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      Except for Ellsbury the entire team stunk in September 2011. Obviously things don’t look promising for Bard after last year but I’m not willing to write him off just yet.

  4. skeleteeth - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Is that image Lackey trying to stare down Francona from the top step after blowing a huge lead in the 4th inning for the 25th consecutive start?

  5. kiwicricket - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Unless the rest of the team is abducted by aliens then return as psychotic, kitty litter eating maniacs….it seems very unlikely.

  6. proudlycanadian - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Prediction #2. If Ellsbury is just having a so so season as predicted by Abraham, he will be gone by trade deadline. The Sox realize that, if he doesn’t play well and they keep him, he would not be worth a qualifying offer at the end of the year. In that case, rather than see him go for nothing, they would rather trade him and get something.

  7. proudlycanadian - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Prediction #3. If the Sox are out of contention by the trade deadline, they will explore the idea of trading Pedroia for some high end prospects. By the time the Red Sox are genuine contenders again, Pedroia will be a bit long in the tooth. Why not get something of value for him while he is near his prime?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      ….because you don’t trade the heart and soul of your team after of a one and a half down seasons.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        Dammit where’s that edit function?

    • bigharold - Jan 2, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Actually, trading Pedroia isn’t a bad strategy but I don’t see it happening, .. too much negative puplicity. The RS could use some continuity right about now.

      Trading Pedroia would be a bad idea inasmuch as even a rebuilding team needs veteran leadership, .. which he certainly provides. Presence and continuity are important to a rebuilding team and Pedroia certainty fills the bill.

      On the other hand, Pedroia plays all out all the time which is one of the great things about him. Even us Yankee fans respect that. Except, going into his mid 30s, .. which is where he’ll be by the time he gets to FA, .. all the diving for balls in the hole and full tilt playing is going to start catching up with him. He’s likely going to start getting nagging injuries that will effect his play and productivity. The smarter long term baseball move might be to move him now while his value is greatest and before he starts showing signs of wear and tear.

      Clearly the strategy of trading Pedroia has it’s obvious risk and public relations issues but keeping him is risky too for the reasons stated. And, negotiating with a 2B that is a team icon and closing in on 33 years old, .. which is what Pedroia will be by the time he starts his next contract, .. will not be easy or cheap. From the RS he’s going to want a lucrative contract that reflects not only his value as a player but his position as a RS icon and a contract that takes him to the end of his career.

      I’d likely trade him now and start rebuilding. Unless the RS are planing on making big moves in the FA market over the next year or two they aren’t likely to be in contention until at least 2015. Regardless, I think there is about a 50% chance that Pedroia finishes his career with the RS even if they don’t trade him before his contract ends.

  8. number42is1 - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    If you read the title of this blog in the voice of Kent Brockman it is much much funnier. you can almost hear him saying “the answer is of course, no!”

  9. uyf1950 - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Lackey already is a fan favorite. It just so happens those are fans of teams like the Yankees, Rangers, Jays, Orioles and a host of other American League teams. I hope he keeps up the good work.

  10. oldpaddy - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Peter Abraham is an ass clown. He’s the worst sox reporter that I can think of.

    Lackey might do well, but he’ll never be loved or even liked in Boston. I can’t think of any player that sox fans hated and then loved. Even Nancy Drew went back to being hated after the ’07 WS and Nancy was never hated as much as Lackey. Lackey is despised in Boston.

    F Lackey and F(!) Abraham.

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      Spoken like a true Boston Herald ignoramus.

  11. sandpiperair - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Since it usually takes some extra time for pitchers to fully recover from Tommy John surgery, even after they’re cleared for game action, he’ll most likely start the season as the “same old Lackey” in the eyes of many Sox fans. Even if he is eventually able to return to form, Boston will already be demanding his release, no matter how many millions it costs the team.

    It’s going to be very tough for him to make a successful comeback in this demanding market.

  12. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    If he can explain what there is to like about Lackey (no, he doesn’t “go about his business professionally,” he looks like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum every time he gets lit up) then I might believe this….wait, no I won’t.

  13. pellypell - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    You mean John Lackey, the fella that filed for divorce in the middle of his wife battling breast cancer?

    This guy gave up on his wife during hard times, imagine what he will do to the Sox.

    • anxovies - Jan 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      It was an act of kindness. Who needs to suffer from breast cancer and to be married to John Lackey at the same time?

  14. bostonboy82 - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Good for everyone who actually reads this stuff!

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