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Clubhouse beer leader Josh Beckett shows up early to spring training

As stupid as it may sound, the antics of the 2011 Boston Red Sox could turn out to be a positive thing for the 2012 edition of the team. Heading into 2011, expectations for Boston were through the roof. John Lackey was expected to have a bounce-back season and the additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez made the Sox top contenders for the World Series. Then, September happened. Red Sox fans suffered through the most embarrassing collapse in team history and information about their pitching staff pounding beers and eating junk food in the clubhouse became prevalent. Perhaps all that inspired Josh Beckett to show up early for spring training this year.

“He looked pretty sharp. He looked very healthy,’’ new pitching coach Bob McClure said after overseeing Beckett’s bullpen session.

“That’s a great sign,’’ he said when asked about Beckett showing up five days ahead of schedule. “He wants to win, that’s the bottom line. The stuff that happened last year, it happened. It’s unfortunate but it happened. He’s coming in here with something he wants to do and that’s win the division. I think it shows the rest of the guys how serious they are about wanting to get this thing going.”

It’s Boston. Expectations are still high, but now many of the Red Sox players are seen as slobs who don’t care. If that doesn’t place a chip on their shoulder, nothing will. Beckett recently spoke about the September collapse and said the issues should have remained in-house, but he knows he is considered by many to have been the ring leader.

Unlike last season when they were crowned before even playing a game, the 2012 Sox have more to prove than arguably any team in the league. They have a new manager and will be looking to make up for humiliating themselves at the end of last season. All the beer and fried chicken drama has resulted in people forgetting how loaded with talent their roster still is. If Beckett can emerge as a true ace and guys like Carl Crawford can put it together, Boston could quickly and quietly emerge as the team they should have been last year — the American League’s best.

Josh Beckett says beer story should have stayed in the clubhouse

Josh Beckett has finally responded to the Boston Globe story that called out some Red Sox pitchers for their poor clubhouse behavior during games. Appearing on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk, Beckett said that what goes on in the clubhouse should stay in the clubhouse.

“I think the biggest key is what [Jon] Lester said, we stunk on the field and that was the bottom line,” Beckett said on the show, which is hosted by Chris Rose and former Red Sox player Kevin Millar. “If we would have pitched better, none of that stuff would have even been an issue. And it shouldn’t be an issue anyway because what goes on in the clubhouse should stay in the clubhouse.

“I don’t care who says that or whatever. I’m not saying we don’t make mistakes in the clubhouse. (Millar) will definitely respond to that because, hell, they were drinking Jack Daniels and they won the (2004) World Series. It’s just what goes on in the clubhouse, it’s supposed to stay in the clubhouse.”

Beckett’s probably right that personal team business should have remained private. However, just because it shouldn’t be out in the public doesn’t mean what Beckett and his teammates did should be excused. Their clubhouse behavior was inappropriate and disrespectful to his teammates who were playing during those games. He’s also overlooking the point that maybe they would have pitched better had they been better prepared.

I’ve been a big Josh Beckett fan for a long time, but I have to wonder how much more he could have accomplished if he had a better work ethic. He’s had far too many down seasons and missed too many starts for a pitcher with his talent.

Below is a video of the interview:

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Bobby Valentine Says Josh Beckett ‘Pissed Off’ At Him Over Slow Pace Comments

Maybe reporters are making way too much of the dynamic between Josh Beckett and Bobby Valentine before their new relationship even starts, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly concerned as a Red Sox fan.  Beckett was said to be a malcontent in the Red Sox clubhouse last season.  In fact, a number of Boston sources even believe he is partially responsible for driving Terry Francona out of town.

With that in mind, the history between Beckett and Valentine is a bit alarming.  As you may know, Valentine ripped Beckett during a Sunday Night Baseball broadcast last season for taking too much time between pitches.  It’s a complaint Beckett has heard from a number of people, but it doesn’t sound like he has completely gotten over hearing it from Bobby V.

“I did reach out to Josh, and he didn’t want me to say anything so I’m not going to say anything other than after he got through telling me how pissed off he was, we had a really good conversation,” Valentine said Wednesday according to WEEI.com. “I’m not going to say anything about it.”

Alas, Red Sox fans get their first glimpse of what life with Bobby V. is going to be like.  Valentine wears his heart on his sleeve and is not very good at keeping issues in-house.  Even if Beckett is still angry with him over the comments he made, it would probably be best if the new manager worked through the issue behind closed doors.  Saying Beckett is still pissed about it might make him sound unreasonable and can be construed as throwing him under the bus.

Valentine has inherited a team of talented players with a poor reputation — a group which also was reportedly unhappy with his hiring.  If Bobby V. is capable of keeping quiet, his best bet would probably be to keep the media in the dark more often than not.

Jack McKeon Locked Josh Beckett, Brad Penny Out of Clubhouse During ’03 Marlins Games, Gave Pee-Pee Cards

The Boston Globe reported Wednesday morning that a handful of Red Sox pitchers regularly drank beers and hung out in the clubhouse during games. Apparently that is nothing new for veteran pitcher Josh Beckett.

Former Marlins manager Jack McKeon told The Palm Beach Post that he had to lock the clubhouse during games for his 2003 World Series team because players such as Josh Beckett and Brad Penny would go in there to drink and hang out. He also created bathroom passes for players to use during games.

You can’t make this stuff up.

McKeon created poo-poo and pee-pee cards for players to take if they needed to use the bathroom. He says that was effective in curbing the fun.

McKeon says he considered implementing a similar system while managing the Marlins this season, but he never had to go that far. His story shows us that players screwing around during games is nothing new. It also makes us wonder if someone like Josh Beckett could avoid stupid injuries like this if he trained harder.

And if all the funny baseball pranks we’ve shared over the years didn’t already show you how immature some players can be, McKeon’s treatment of the ’03 Marlins confirms it. A story like this is funny, but actually kind of sad.

Forearm bash to Eye on Baseball

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey Reportedly Drank Beer, Played Video Games During Red Sox Games

Shortly after the Red Sox completed their historic collapse on the final day of the season, the reports of clubhouse problems emerged. Some Red Sox pitchers were accused of drinking beer during games. Adrian Gonzalez complained about the team’s arduous schedule. David Ortiz said some players probably didn’t care about the team losing. Apparently those were just a taste of the overall problems going on in Boston.

The Boston Globe published a lengthy report early Wednesday morning that detailed many of the team’s issues.

The Globe says pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey drank beer, played video games, and ate fried chicken during games. While the rest of their teammates were working hard to win games, these guys reportedly were bro’ing out like a bunch of frat boys on spring break. It must be noted that the practice reportedly began in 2010. The team experienced some success despite the pitchers’ careless ways, but it appeared to have burned them late in the year. Beckett managed to have a good season this year, but Lackey was awful again, and Lester struggled in September. They trio also reportedly cut down on their exercise routines this year.

These players clearly weren’t working as hard as they could be, and it makes us wonder how good they could be if they trained the way professional athletes should. It also explains owner John Henry’s “nutritional issues” euphemism regarding the team.

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Josh Beckett the Latest of Many Pitchers to Hurt Themselves While Swinging

In MLB, there is one main difference between the American League and the National League. In the AL, designated hitters are allowed but in the NL they’re not. That means pitchers don’t have to bat in the AL so their only job is to pitch. In the NL, more is asked of the pitchers because they have to bat too. Does the AL have it right? Should pitchers only be concerned about throwing the ball and not hitting it?

This idea has been debated for years and has been sparked by the injury to Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett who was placed on the DL because of a back injury. Beckett of course hurt his back while swinging in preparation for interleague play where he’d be forced to hit. Now if this isn’t downright pathetic, I’m not quite sure what is. When you play baseball at a professional level, you should have a certain level of athleticism. Unfortunately Beckett isn’t the only pitcher who’s been hurt swinging a bat (or trying to) over the last few years. Let’s take a look at some of the pitchers who need to stay on the mound and out of the batter’s box:

American League

1. Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox – Beckett injured himself before the start of May 10th’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays by taking practice swings. Let’s examine this a little more closely shall we? Beckett was swinging the bat before a game against who? The Blue Jays? Ah, another American League team that he doesn’t have to hit against anyways. This makes my head hurt. The Red Sox said this was because the pitchers are getting ready for interleague play. The Red Sox’s first interleague game is on Sunday at Philadelphia. So, Beckett was practice swinging for a game that was 13 days away at that point? And now he’s on the DL. That is just plain dumb.

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Jose Canseco Blackmailing Magglio?

Straight from the YHTBFKM Files comes this story. (hint: you have to be … kidding me). Actually I don’t know why this would come as a surprise when we’re talking about a dude who was so desperate for money he tried to sell himself off as the grand prize in a reality TV show. But yeah, this report really trumps most of the stories I’ve come across recently. From the NY Times:

Jose Canseco, the former major league slugger and admitted steroid user who exposed other players in his 2005 best-selling book “Juiced” offered to keep a Detroit Tigers outfielder clear in his next book if the player invested money in a film project Canseco was promoting, according to a person in baseball with knowledge of the situation.

A former ghostwriter on Vindicated, which is scheduled to be published at the start of the baseball season, said Canseco planned to name Ordonez. He was the most prominent, said Don Yaeger, a former Sports Illustrated associate editor who reviewed all of Canseco’s materials in December.

Now it is worth noting that Magglio says he never had heard from Canseco directly but he had been receiving messages from a friend of Canseco’s. Now the obvious question that must be on everyone’s mind at this point … Jose Canseco has friends??? I see Sir Steroid at the gym every so often, and the only friend he has is that toned blond doing chinups on his biceps. Seriously though, would you really put it past Jose to do this? I sure wouldn’t. One more thing — I thought Jose had goods on A-Rod. What happened to that? Wouldn’t A-Rod have been the most prominent name in the new books if that were the case? Guess not.