Josh Beckett wants you to know he was a victim. He was a misunderstood individual who just so happened to take on an unfair demonic state here in Boston.
Pardon us for a second. Riiiiiiiight.
In Rob Bradford's
love letter interview with the once and former Red Sox ace, Beckett paints a much different picture of himself than most in New England with a memory lapse of less than 72 hours can recall. Despite his heroics in 2007, the recent resume is clear, yet Beckett seems intent on blaming -- what else -- the media for the way things ended here. Shocker.
"Once they want you out of there, they want you out of there," Beckett told Bradford. "By them, I don't necessarily mean the fans. There are certain people in the media who painted me out to be a monster with horns, and that's just not the case. I said that in my press conference, people out here hear from certain media members that [portrayal]. I'm like, well, maybe you should start asking some people who are around me and know me. That's the thing, nobody ever asks them. And if they do ask them, they don't write that. They don't write what people say because that's not how they want perception to be. They've done it to a lot of people."
Beckett raises Keith Foulke as an example of a player who should be revered in Boston, only to be smeared by an unappreciative fan base, despite his pivotal role in leading the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series title. I'd counter that much of that disgruntled attitude comes more from a New England fan's ability to see through individuals who they once deemed laudable. Foulke's undoing wasn't only his unbalanced seasons following 2004, but his complete disregard for the fan base, intentionally and irrationally insulting and never apologizing for his "Johnny from Burger King" quip.
Admittedly we're a different breed in the Northeast, where fans have a hardened edge unlike anywhere else in the country. It's an attitude that gets mocked roundly in certain national circles, where New England fans are portrayed something akin to a mother eating her young. Sorry. Deal with it.
Beckett wasn't vilified as he was going 6-6 in 2010. He wasn't despised for his relentless and curious injuries. He was actually kind of revered for being a take no [bleep] personality, an attitude that most presumed produced his production on the mound. Turns out, we were all hoodwinked as that relentless persona got out of control, transforming a hardened athlete into an enabled, unproductive albatross.
"I may not be the media darling, but I answer questions. That's it," Beckett told Bradford.
Except when he, you know...didn't. Except when he brushed aside last season's epic collapse during spring training. Except for the multiple times he wasn't there to answer after yet another shelling. Except when he was cowardly hiding in the clubhouse while his teammates imploded.
"It's just a matter of time before they get you, basically. And that's unfortunate," Beckett told Bradford. "I think Jonny Lester knows that. I think Clay Buchholz knows that. Your time will come."
That, ladies and gentleman, was the man leading your Boston Red Sox, a paranoid, immature individual who couldn't live up to his immense past. If those are his parting words for his former teammates, then good riddance, and hope that they don't suffer whatever same inner turmoil infection that made Beckett believe the world turned on him instead of the other way around.
"You just try and be yourself, and if that's not enough, what are you supposed to do? Act like somebody else?" Beckett asked Bradford. "I don't know how that gets you anywhere. Once you start lying then there's another lie and then you have to cover that with another lie. I think that just makes things worse. You just have to go and be yourself, which I did. I was the same exact person all seven years there, and the four or five prior to that when I was in Florida I was the same person."
Maybe that's true. Maybe we all finally just saw through the act.
For better or worse, I guess that's Josh Beckett.
For the best, he's somebody else's issue now.