Play it safe

No more knocks to our pitcher's head, please.

By Charles P. Pierce
March 20, 2011

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Dear Josh Beckett: It would be perfectly OK with most Red Sox fans if you could go a month or so without getting hit in the head with something. By the time spring training was a month old, you’d already taken more punishment upside your melon than Curly Howard did in Punch Drunks. (Please, don’t go anywhere near anyone playing “Pop Goes the Weasel” on a fiddle, OK?) First, your manager, Terry Francona, whacks you in the face with a cloth baseball while you were doing a drill at the training complex. Then, less than two weeks later, a coaching assistant decides to have a little fun with fungoes – trying to hit baseballs into a bucket near where you’re standing. The result was completely predictable to anyone whose worldview was shaped at an early age by the firm of Howard, Fine, and Howard. The fungo was unleashed, and the ball hit you in the temple, sending you off the field for the day. Now, everyone who follows the Red Sox is gearing up for a great season. The offseason acquisitions have made people giddy, and the returning pitching staff is considered to be the rock on which the church has been built. It would be unfortunate if you kept getting hit in the head with things and messed all of that up. I think I speak for many Red Sox fans when we say, please, stop getting your head in the way of things. This, in a metaphorical sense, also applies to your fastball, by the way.

Charles P. Pierce can be reached at

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