"Somebody made that stuff up, just like somebody made up that we were doing stuff ... The snitching [expletive], that's [expletive]. It's not good." - Josh Beckett - WEEI (Feb. 27, 2012)
"I'm a victim of soicumstance" - Curly -Disorder in the Court (1936)
Happy Friday the 13th.
The "Three Stooges" movie opens today. Reviews are mixed.
Meanwhile, Ben, Larry and Bobby, joined by the rest of those knuckleheads, begin the 101st season of Fenway Park.
Josh Beckett starts the Red Sox home opener. Odds are strong he won't finish it.
It's been nothing but feel-good prose, vintage photos and "tell us your favorite Fenway" story all winter. The on-field angst Fenway has provided for years will be precisely personified as Beckett takes the mound. "Chicken and Beer" is now a fixed part of Red Sox lore, just like "Dave Roberts' Steal," the "Curse of the Bambino," the "Impossible Dream" and "Manny's Bathroom Breaks." Beckett has taken fried fowl and fermented hops in human form.
As if being the front-man for the 2011 collapse was not enough, Beckett kept it up in spring training by making it clear that now since he is a dad, he no longer has to care about his job and should be left alone because he's a working parent away from home. He then went out and threw batting practice to the Tigers in his 2012 debut.
He's right. Parenthood trumps baseball - except when you're actually playing baseball and working off a $68 million contract extension. Beckett's pitching line Saturday - 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 K and 5 HR on just 83 pitches - was the biggest opening week bomb since "John Carter."
Should the fans heading to Fenway - or watching on TV - boo Beckett? In the words of legendary country crooner Kevin Fowler - "Hell, yeah."
Boo his fat Texas arse off.
Let it out when he's introduced. Then let it go and judge him and the rest of the team on what they do from here on out. There will likely be many more opportunities to boo long before the season ends. Hoping for more reasons to cheer. Not really a fan of booing the home team on Opening Day, but this is a rare, perhaps twice-in-a-lifetime exception.
This is not the first crack the faithful have had at Beckett this year. He received polite applause when I saw him pitch in person in Fort Myers and there were no reports of empties being tossed his day even though it was St. Patrick's Day. That's understandable. It's hard to boo anyone during spring training (unless they're wearing a Yankees uniform) but I managed. Everyone is so polite in Fort Myers that you're afraid to get out of your seat to answer nature's call unless you're between innings or waiting the 10 minutes for Beckett between pitches.
But this isn't spring training. It's the Fenway Home opener. What happens today actually matters. It belongs to Red Sox fans whether they're in attendance or not. It's the biggest undeclared holiday in New England, a legit version of Evacuation Day (see St. Patrick's Day) for those of us outside Suffolk County. Boston's 1-5 record doesn't really carry the sting that it should because the team hasn't played at home yet, so there's no need to join the throng lined up at the tool booths on the Tobin Bridge in their swim suits and goggles until they actually lose at home. But the Sox are right on pace to match last year's 2-10 start.
Here's a recap of the Red Sox 2012 season thus far:
Booing Beckett or any his accomplices is not personal. Far from it. I never thought anyone from the Red Sox owed anyone a personal apology (beyond the former manager and a few others who were thrown under the bus in The Aftermath). The Red Sox did no harm to me, or my family. John Lackey didn't take food off my table. Captain Varitek not prevent my son from getting into college. Carl Crawford's batting average had no effect on my wife's business. No animals were harmed in the making of this picture.
But as fans, they shafted us all. The Red Sox fanbase got the collective doink and was slapped around more than Curly on his first plumbing job. If you paid money for a ticket or for NESN through your cable or satellite bill, or bought anything with "Red Sox" on it - you got a defective product - namely a team that did not play its best and "athletes" who let themselves get fat, out of shape and injury prone as the season regressed. Beckett was at the epicenter of this - despite his overall decent numbers. And he remains the target because we don't have Lackey to kick around this season. You gave the Red Sox your heart and it got coated in a beer batter and deep-fried. And Beckett's biggest regret from last year was that he got caught.
This baseball season at Fenway is going to be different than the 100 that came before it because of the festivities and hoopla surrounding the ballpark's 100th birthday on April 20. And like the Titanic tribute cruise that's lurching across the Atlantic this week from England, the Red Sox are being smacked around by stormy winds but cannot turn back. There are plenty of icebergs ahead in the A.L. East, not the least of which are the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, who we can't even make fun of anymore since they have finished ahead of Boston in the standings for three of the past four years. For any Red Sox fan living in Florida, this is a special source of humiliation and shame. That fact alone is reason enough to want to boo. At least we can still mock the portion of the Rays' fan base that comprised the Casey Anthony jury.
Perhaps a "Moment of Silence" would be a bit more sophisticated. Maybe Ashley Pinkhat and Frederic Smythington III feel it's disloyal or rude to boo anyone in a Red Sox uniform. But plenty of Red Sox fans will let it out today when No. 19 is introduced. One last wail to get 2011 and its aftermath out of their system.
And I'll be there right with them.
As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at email@example.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.
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