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It seems many fans have found their scapegoat for 2011′s collapse in starter Josh Beckett. Yes, it’s true he was the ring leader in the whole fried chicken and beer “issue,” but that doesn’t mean we need to run him out-of-town.
Before I use numbers to state my case, can we please stop with this bad role model garbage. Yes, he drank beer and ate crap during games. As the case always goes, as soon as alcohol is involved, everyone turns into Mrs. Lovejoy from The Simpsons. “Will someone please think of the children!” No, I won’t. Because odds are, any 10- or 12-year-old sitting in the stands is witnessing much worse examples of alcohol-induced behavior. Beckett’s in-game drinking is nothing compared to what kids could easily be exposed to in the bleachers. So, with that said, Boston, get off your high horse. This is a non-issue. Plus, parents, anything you teach your kids about booze goes right out he window on their first football game in college or in my case, first exam.
If it wasn’t for the Red Sox collapse, beer, chicken and trading Beckett would not be on anyone’s mind. He had a pretty good 2011. He was coming off of one of the worst years of his career in 2010, when he made a career low 21 starts and posted an ERA of 5.78. He bounced back in 2011 with a very strong showing. He made 30 starts, had an ERA of 2.89 (the best of his career) and he only went 13-7 because the offense took the day off whenever he pitched.
How are those numbers grounds to be traded? So what if he gained some weight. It was reported Beckett added around 20 extra pounds, but he can easily get back into shape – it’s not like he’s King Kong Bundy out there on the mound. Plus, he’s a pitcher, and pitchers can get away with being fat. Remember David Wells, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens and Kirsty Alley? They all had some meat on their bones and they pitched just fine. Beckett was/is no exception.
The man’s ERA was at an all-time low, so what if his cholesterol was at an all-time high. I understand that there are the right things and the wrong things to put in your body before, during and after a game. This is true and Beckett lacked the discipline to realize that. We all know about his off-the-feild attitude and how he can come off as stubborn or even selfish. But despite all of that, Beckett has to be one of the most competitive players to ever put on a Red Sox uniform. And that, I believe, will be enough to motivate and discipline him to get back into shape for next season.
If the Sox do trade the “Quarter-Ton Titan,” then it’s not going to be for some big name. It’ll most likely be to a low-key team like San Diego or the L.A. Dodgers. I’m thinking along the lines of teams that can trade prospects and use Beckett to get their fan base excited. I highly doubt that names like Felix Hernandez or Dan Haren would be dealt for Beckett. It just doesn’t seem plausible in my opinion.
He just shouldn’t get traded. He’s going to be a valuable piece of the Red Sox pitching rotation next season and all the fans who are disgusted by him have an entire winter to get over it.