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Buck Showalter on John Lackey: “he might want to be careful”

Jul 7, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

john lackey getty Getty Images

On Saturday night, after getting rocked by the Orioles in general and Nelson Cruz in particular, Red Sox starter John Lackey threw some shade Cruz’s way, suggesting that people shouldn’t let Cruz off the hook given that he was suspended for PED use last season.

Yesterday morning Orioles manager Buck Showalter responded, saying “everybody needs to make sure that their own backyard is clean” before slamming anyone else about PEDs. He added:

“There’s so many insinuations, quite frankly, about people in every club. You usually don’t hear those comments after a shutout or something . . . Considering the timing of things, it’s one of those things that you keep quiet about it and it reflects poorly upon the person who said it . . . He might want to be careful.”

So many ways to go with that. Let’s go a few ways:

  • One could take that broadly and interpret it as Showalter saying “hey, you never know who is using and maybe someone on the Red Sox is, so don’t throw that stuff around.”
  • One could take that specifically and have it as Showalter reminding Lackey that, once upon a time, David Ortiz was accused of PED use.
  • One could also look specifically at Nelson Cruz and be reminded that, last winter, the Red Sox were considering signing him and Ortiz himself personally reached out to Cruz in an effort to try to get him to come to Boston. Query: Does Lackey have an ethical problem if Cruz is hitting 27 homers and driving in 70 before the break if he’s wearing a Red Sox uniform? Kinda doubt it!
  • One could also remember that, three years ago, Lackey was involved in a brawl/plunking war with the Orioles and, at the time, Showalter called for Lackey to be suspended which suggests that Showalter doesn’t have much patience for that guy to begin with.

A friend of mine — actually, a friend of mine’s father — likes to say that “everything in life has a long tail.” I tend to agree with that. And if you’re the sort of person who likes to make moral and ethical judgments about folks, it’s helpful to remember the context in which you do it and examine whether or not you’re being a wee bit inconsistent in your application of such judgments.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I’m going to be so pissed if the Sox don’t move Lackey, Peavy and possibly even Lester before the deadline.

    • mornelithe - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Lackey would be a fairly lucrative move, I think. He’s got a league minimum vesting option for next year. I wonder if that transfers w/ a trade.

    • sabatimus - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      Lackey’s been a good pitcher this year, as has Lester. Given his comments about waiting until the end of the season to reopen contract talks, I bet Lester walks. Peavy shouldn’t even be still on the team.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        A bit of recent rumor has Cards looking at Lester as well as Price. I hope not, unless the trade offer is made solely in terms of “rent a player,” ie, the Cards have no expectation of resigning him.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      Not quite the full truth on his vesting next year: B-Ref says in notes: “Club option at minimum for 2015 if Lackey misses significant time 2010-2014 due to an elbow injury.”

      So far, he’s not done that over the period in question. So, as I read the fine print, he’s a FA next year unless he effs up his elbow within the next 3 months.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        He missed all of 2012.

        The trigger was activated at that point.

        He’s said he’d retire before honoring it though.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        That said, a 35-year-old pitcher who is going to be a FA next year? Per the recently old saying, I guess Lackey could look good in pinstripes.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        My bad, my eyeballs ran over 2012 ….

        That said, the part about “looking good in pinstripes” still sounds true to life, doesn’t it?

        And, that said, I don’t get all the thrills over Lackey. He’s a starter on the borderline between No. 2 and 3 slots.

  2. scoochpooch - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Oh, you’re a LuckSox fan. Now all your comments make sense. I should have known.

    • boogerhill - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      Lackey is too ugly to look good in anything, a face only a mother could love. He looks like Jason Voorhees when the mask came off!

  3. ripwarrior - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Well everyone knows that a lot of the sox players are a bunch of whiners. Yesterday, some of the sox players were complaining about called strike three when the pitch track showed the pitch was clearly a strike. The sox whole fan base is awful and they are hypocrites. They have the nerve to call A-Rod and Cruz out for steroids yet they cheered manny and still embrace Ortiz. One of their fans told me if I came to Boston that I should not wear my home team’a apparel and my response to him was that if someone was going to come at me for wearing a shirt that I would stab them in the neck. He quickly walked away.

    • renaado - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      “The sox whole fan base is awful and they are hypocrites. They have the nerve to call A-Rod and Cruz out for steroids yet they cheered manny and still embrace Ortiz.”

      Ain’t surprisin… Most if not some of us are like that not just Redsox fans, if we root for a player that plays for our team then we’d also support em… Regardless of what they did, illegal or not, yes it hurts if they cheated but there is always reason on why they’ve done that, personal matters or not I think it’s better not to know much of it cause it already happened.

      We all are hypocrites, let’s face it… Not just Redsox fans.

      • carpi2 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        It’s all fine and good to cheer on your former players, no matter their faults. That’s part of being a fan-base! However, to then turn and thumb your noses at players, for performing acts, which are/were perpetrated by your own players is bad taste, as a fan base in large. Renaado, I applaud your willingness to acknowledge your team’s short-comings.

        As a Philly Fan, I think our team’s players suck, so I’m allowed to throw stones :-)

      • aresachaela - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        LOL @carpi2 XD!! Ren is a Braves fan XD!!

      • carpi2 - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:35 AM

        My bad for thinking you’re a ‘Sox fan, Renaado. In some situations, those could be fighting words, I know

    • sophiethegreatdane - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      Come on, let’s not start painting the entire fan base with such a broad brush. My fiancee is a Sox fan, as is the rest of her family and they are not awful and they are not hypocrites. Passionate fans? Certainly.

    • raysfan1 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      You threaten violence over a shirt, and you pretty much lose any moral authority you may have had to pass judgment on other fan bases.

    • mkd - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      “One of their fans told me if I came to Boston that I should not wear my home team’a apparel and my response to him was that if someone was going to come at me for wearing a shirt that I would stab them in the neck. He quickly walked away.”

      Thanks for sharing your invented tough guy fantasy with the class. In the future though you should try to work in some more details. What would you use to do the stabbing? Do you carry a knife around or would you have to dramatically break a bottle over the table? And rather than merely “walking away” you could have your imaginary Boston fan “slink” or “crawl” away. Painting a vivid picture is the key to creative writing.

    • Old Gator - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      Stabbing someone in the neck is a little extreme. Why not just eat a few cans of beans and a tin of anchovies about six or seven hours before the game, and be ready to pull your index finger if threatened?

    • elpendejo59 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      Wow, so ripwarrior isn’t just a clever name…

      • ripwarrior - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        I wouldn’t literally stab someone. Cmon guys. I was exaggerating.

      • Old Gator - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        So sayeth Jack the Ripwarrior.

    • paperlions - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      I’ve gone to Red Sox games in Fenway with a group of people that wore gear from multiple teams (Tigers, Yankees, Brewers) when the Red Sox happened to be hosting Detroit. No one ever said anything to us….there were some shouts of “Yankees suck!”, but those could have just been random shouts of truth.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        That reminds me of the best time I ever had at Fenway.

        It was against the Tigers, probably in the summer of 1997 or so. One row in front of me, there was an extremely wholesome family of four, all wearing Tigers’ gear. The satin jackets, t-shirts underneath, Tigers’ caps. And two rows in front of me, this HUGE guy — scary as hell — turns around and grunts at the dad, “You from DETROIT!?” And the dad wimpers, as any of us would, “Um, yeah.” And the huge guy puts on a huge-r smile and says, “Welcome to our fair city. I hope you enjoy yourselves today. And then buys the dad a beer.

        And that was only about third funniest thing that happened that day. For the life of me, I can’t remember the score.

        Look, many fans are assholes. And most are not. You’d all be better off not stereotyping people.

      • tmc602014 - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        No thumbs on my page, so a written Thumbs Up to “…random shouts of truth.”

      • dcarroll73 - Jul 7, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        I will grant the possibility of change (although nothing I have seen of Boston and its fans would support that hope.) In the 1970s when I attended BU, I went to a lot of games at Fenway. I am a Yanks fan, and I had heard enough snark that I watched my step there. At one game the Sox were not even playing the Yanks, when another Yanks fan had a very bad day. The old “hang the numbers” scoreboard was the trigger. The Yanks fan in question was more savvy about baseball than he was about personal safety. The scoreboard showed a change for the number of the pitcher opposing the Yanks in some distant city. Mr. Baseball Idiot-Savant smoked it right away that the Yanks had a rally going, and forgetting where he was he cheered heartily. A Sox fan decked him – out cold before he fell back into the seat. No Fenway security visit; no other follow-up at all. So that was Fenway in the 1970s. You can spruce it up and put in some new seats, but I have a strong suspicion that the folks who fill most of those seats have not changed one little bit.

  4. chip56 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    On the other hand, Lackey could despise Ortiz but is politically correct enough to know not to say such things about a teammate.

    Bottom line is that Buck did what Buck’s supposed to do which is stick up for his player. If Lackey is consistent in his feelings towards PED users then I have no problem with him being anti-Cruz or anyone else who used. Those guys brought it on themselves.

    • mornelithe - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      I was wondering the exact same thing actually, I’m not sure I see Ortiz/Lackey palling around very often. But, that means exactly nothing because I don’t really look either. Agreed though, as long as he’s consistent about it. Have no sympathy for them, they made their bed.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        I have my doubts that a pitcher from Texas and a DH from the Dominican have many occasions to hang out together as chums. But players are supposed to stick up for their teammates. In my book, being a hypocrite (about this, anyway) would be worse than being consistently moralizing.

  5. jm91rs - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    I like the Red Sox as an organization, but they sure have a lot of unlikable guys sometimes. I can’t figure out who’s more annoying, the players that whine or the opposing team’s fans that comment here about the whiners.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      If you don’t want people to comment when your players when they whine, maybe they should stop whining… Seems to me the team runs their mouths more often than they run the bases.

  6. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    I have found some recorded material from the Red Sox clubhouse after Cruz lit up Lackey and company over the weekend…

    • sabatimus - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      That’s about as credible as that “David Price” pic.

  7. chip56 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    It’s also worth pointing out in this discussion that while the fans voted for Nelson Cruz, the players did not select any players with known PED ties (Melky, Braun).

  8. bigdaddy44 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Let’s focus on the validity of Lackey’s comments and not all the BS being thrown around. Cruz has figured out how to beat the system. It is fairly obvious from the eye test. Remember, he DID NOT test positive when he was suspended. He was suspended for connection to Biogenesis. So he was beating the vaunted MLB drug testing system in past years, and it appears he is beating it again now, convincingly.

    • Glenn - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      Good point. People are naive if they think that lots of MLB players aren’t still using PEDs and beating the testing system. Consider PED use in cycling, the Olympics, etc, Their testing procedures are much more intensive and a high percentage of those athletes still use.

    • paperlions - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      He was allegedly provided HGH from biogenesis. Contrary to the constant stream of lazy reporting, HGH does not enhance performance in otherwise healthy adults.

    • bmorejack - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      If by “eye test” you mean the fact that he changed his batting stance, his setup, where now he prepares early to attack pitches low and away/off the plate, then yes. Because he has. What was once a weakness is now a strength. If however, you’re inferring that he’s using PEDs just because from your couch you see a guy that’s not hitting homeruns for your team and you’re mad about it, then that’s a different story altogether. Please show us your medical degree while you’re at it. Or better yet, break the story to the world how it’s so obvious Cruz is on PEDs. Thanks.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:45 PM

        The “eye test” is crazy. Gabe Kappler wrote a LONG piece about how being built like he is made people suspect him (and says he never used, but that he was a workout fiend). And there is no shortage of scrawny players who have tested positive.

        The safest thing to do is just assume everyone who plays for other teams (not yours, though!) is on PEDs and never enjoy watching another game again. And when someone does test positive, they should be sent to the electric chair, because it’s the worst thing any human being has ever done. Unless he’s on your team, in which case, he expresses remorse and feels really bad about it.

        G-d, why did I read the comments? WHY??

  9. thebadguyswon - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Guys like Lackey make it so easy to hate the Red Sox. He’s such a whiny little B. An October without Boston or the Yankees will be glorious.

    • simplymh3 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Yes it will

    • bigharold - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      “An October without Boston or the Yankees will be glorious.”

      You’re confident that neither of these teams are going to make the playoffs? That say a lot about your baseball acumen.

  10. shawnuel - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Perhaps Buck was “throwing shade” at the Sox rotation and their tendency to administer gooey substances to the ball while on the mound.

  11. pascalswager42 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    Buck Showalter is and always has been good for the game of baseball. He and Tito are my favorites in the MLB.

  12. irishlad19 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Lackey is not very media-savvy, tends to say dumb things too often.
    Time to trade him anyway, BoSox need to begin preparing for next season.
    Peavy goes also, but let’s hope Lester stays.

  13. jrob23 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    “And if you’re the sort of person who likes to make moral and ethical judgments about folks, it’s helpful to remember the context in which you do it and examine whether or not you’re being a wee bit inconsistent in your application of such judgments.”

    Oh how ironic coming from Craig. Can’t make this stuff up

  14. tmc602014 - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Lackey has talent. He’s also an arrogant ass. Hero of the WS win for the Angels, and people here hated him within a season or two, terrible attitude.

  15. irishlad19 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    Like in any crowd, there will be idiots and troublemakers, especially in the cheap seats in later innings when too much beer has been consumed.
    However, my experience in Fenway in the past ten years is that crowds are friendly, heavily family-oriented, and verbal harassment is not acceptable.
    Sorry for your friend’s experience 40 years ago, but please don’t typecast all of us on that one incident.

  16. jinx21fan - Aug 31, 2014 at 2:34 AM


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