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Josh Beckett needs to go for the good of the franchise

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  May 11, 2012 08:53 AM

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Forget about the golf for a moment.

Forget about the fact that Red Sox "ace" Josh Beckett got lit up to the tune of seven runs over a measly 2 1/3 innings by the Cleveland Indians last night at Fenway Park. Forget about the fried chicken and beer, Beckett's reported refusal to participate in workout drills, and his public relations firm members who sit high atop home plate at Fenway Park.

Those are all reasons Josh Beckett needs to go. But during last night's postgame press conference, Beckett gave everybody -- fans, the front office, media members -- a reason to run him out of town with a ferocious vigor not seen in this town in years.

Beckett's smug defiance encapsulates everything we need to know about the 2012 Boston Red Sox, an over-privileged, under-achieving group of players who have become enemies to nearly every baseball-loving fan in Boston.

And Beckett is the contemptible bandleader.

Two days ago, it was reported by 98.5 The Sports Hub that Beckett, skipped in the rotation last weekend for what the team deemed a sore lat muscle, was spotted hitting the links at a local country club with compatriot in crime Clay Buchholz last Thursday. The assumption was that, if Beckett was indeed hurt, why was he out playing 18? It's a legitimate question that fans deserve the right an answer to, no matter how the story was greeted with such banality by certain members of the local and national media.

Last night, after Beckett's shortest outing of the year, an embarrassing performance on a night meant to pay tribute to Carl Beane, everybody got their answers, delivered with discombobulated venom.

On the golf: "I spend my off days the way I want to spend them."

On his precious off days: "My off day is my off day."

On the booing: "I pitched like [expletive]. That's what happens. Smart fans."

More on the off days from the father of the year: "We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little bit of time to ourselves."

Family must have been out of town, I guess.

Spare me the notion that the Red Sox can't get rid of a guy who gave them almost 200 innings of work last season. The franchise is a disgrace, and Beckett is reason No. 1 why it has been an international laughingstock (Hello, Anfield) for the past nine months. This team is going nowhere; poorly constructed, poorly managed, and poorly marketed. The Red Sox need Josh Beckett why again?

It's not that Beckett doesn't get it, he just doesn't care, and that is the most damning characteristic an athlete, someone who gets paid millions of dollars to achieve his greatest heights possible in order to help his team, can possess. But it isn't just his public perception that Beckett clearly doesn't care about. Last September proved he doesn't care about his team, causing his manager, trainers, and countless others to lose their jobs.

And he's still here. Why?

Ben Cherington now has the unenviable task of trying to find some team willing to take this infectious load off his hands. The Red Sox will have to eat a significant portion of Beckett's contract, but what else is new? Add it to the list.

If Beckett is here next month, it's a clear sign that the Red Sox don't care what you think either. Really, in many cases they don't, but they have now hit a critical crossroad. An ever-growing contingent of fans is beginning to realize the flapdoodle they're being fed, sold, and lied to about day after day. Did you see last night's "distribution" crowd? It was of course, another sellout, a lie that keeps perpetrating and makes you wonder what other kinds of deception they have under wraps.

So, the advice to John Henry and Co. is to make an attempt at winning back a fan base that has lost faith in anything happening at the corners of Brookline Ave. and Yawkey Way. Begin the cleansing you hardly completed last fall and you may soon rectify faith in the coming years, if indeed you even still own the team.

I have never witnessed a more hated team in Boston than the 2012 Boston Red Sox, and there is one, snarling way to, hopefully, begin a process that will give us something to cherish once again.

See ya, Josh.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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