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On Beckett and his getting booed last night

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 1, 2012 09:30 AM

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I'm curious about what you all think about Josh Beckett getting booed on Tuesday night.

Obviously he is not a popular player and he has not pitched well this season. But an injured player getting booed is pretty unusual, especially in his home stadium. I can't remember the last time that has happened.

Beckett was pitching pretty well under adverse circumstances and motioned to the trainer to come out to the mound in the third inning after he walked in a run.

Clearly he was injured and then they took him out. As Beckett walked off the field, the boos were very loud.

Afterward, Beckett said he heard the reaction and offered no reaction to it. He look the high road. Bobby Valentine seemed surprised and said he expected people would regret it once they learned of the circumstances.

But it didn't take a baseball expert to realize Beckett was injured. Assistant athletic trainer Brad Pearson came out to the mound and was examining Beckett's lower back. When Valentine came out to the mound, he motioned for another pitcher.

Is that what Fenway has become, a place where injured players are booed? In talking to several players last night, they were surprised. Fenway, one said, is a demanding place to play but booing an injured player crossed the line.

"That's pretty rough," the player said.

Beckett, at times, seems to go out of his way to be unlikable. He was unapologetic after the events of last season and this season has been refused to take questions after his starts several times. I've been critical of that. It's unprofessional, in my opinion, not to take accountability for your actions.

But Beckett also is 5-1 with a 3.88 earned run average in eight postseason starts for the Red Sox. He is 14-7 in 28 starts against the Yankees since he joined the Red Sox.

Beckett is fifth in team history in strikeouts and 13th in games started. Whether you care to admit it or not, he is one of the more significant starters in the history of the franchise.

Since Beckett joined the Red Sox in 2006, only Justin Verlander (118), CC Sabathia (106), Jered Weaver (95) and Felix Hernandez (90) have more wins in the American League than his 89. Since 2006, he has made eighth-most starts in the American League and pitched the eighth most innings.

If you compare him to other pitchers and not to some unrealistic standard he has been among the best starters in the league during his tenure with the team. That's not an opinion, that's a fact.

Should he be better given what he gets paid? Maybe so. But Beckett ($15.75 million) gets paid the going rate for a top-tier starter. Sabathia is making $23 million this season. Verlander is getting $20 million. Weaver is at $14 million and Hernandez is making $18.5 million.

Based in his age, accomplishments and previous contract, Beckett pretty much makes the standard rate. Again, that's not opinion. That's how the game works. One argument you hear about Beckett all the time is how overpaid he is. That's showing a lack of knowledge in the system.

I'm not suggesting you go out and buy his jersey. I'm not suggesting you even cheer him. Nobody says you have to like every player on the team. Beckett has done and said a lot of dumb things the last few months. He should get booed if he pitches poorly.

But he didn't try to get hurt. He didn't want to get hurt. He was pitching in a 1-0 game against Verlander. He wanted to win the game.

Beckett is a stubborn jackass. But he's a jackass who has done pretty well for your team and kept throwing the ball until he couldn't on Tuesday night.

Booing a player who comes off the mound in a pouring rain with an injury? Boston is better than that. Or at least should be.

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