(Photo from Boston.com)
And just like that, it’s a series again.
Josh Beckett does not take no for an answer, y’all. He simply does not. And that’s why the good lads over at Surviving Grady have been calling him Commander Kickass of the F@ck Yeah Brigade all season, a title he richly deserves. So back to Boston we go. On our turf now. Things are getting interesting.
Tim McCarver must be stopped. There has got to be a way to silence that man. Thank god the Sox managed to pull it out last night, lest we be subjected to thousands upon thousands of articles – on top of McCarver’s histrionics – about Manny lollygagging around first and getting gunned down at home and oh my god, you’d think the man personally peed on Ted Williams’ grave. And then there’s his quote about how it isn’t the end of the world if the Sox don’t win this thing, about which we’re apparently all supposed to freak out and show up at his penthouse with pitchforks and torches and drive him from this fair, baseball is life, city. Yeah, bullshit. Because, and I don’t say this often because it’s frequently hard to distill the essence of the conversation from the babble about unicorns and ponies and offering to give part of his salary to Pedro Martinez, but Manny has a point. It’s what I said the other day. I still believe it.
Now, I don’t know about you, but most of the people I know are not freaking out about this. No one is going to kill themselves over a botched double play. No one is going to commit hari kari with a Louisville Slugger. And yet the media cannot handle the fact that we’re not all about to jump en masse off the Tobin. So they tell us we should freak out about what Manny said. Because, oh my god, Manny doesn’t care! Save the women and children! But here’s what I think. Manny cares, and Manny plays hard. According to Peter Gammons, Manny’s been working his ass off during this playoff run. (And are you going to argue with Peter Gammons? I should certainly hope not). But Manny also understands that he plays baseball for a living. It’s baseball. It’s a game. We freak out about it and that’s (sometimes), part of our charm, but at the end of the day, it’s a game. He just does not understand what we’re so worked up about. So here, here’s an RBI. Happy now? It’s that simple. We’re done freaking out about what Manny says. Maybe eventually, the media will catch up.
As for Josh Beckett, can he pitch all the games? He’s pitched on short rest before, right? So what’s one day of rest? Sure, it’s short but, you know, he’s Josh Beckett. He’s a postseason monster. He’ll mow you down soon as look at you (or bark at you if you’re Kenny Lofton and dare to drop the bat). He’s throwing gas out there and his smirk is perhaps one razor-thin shred of decency away from being a full out sneer. I believe it was Beth who once said, “When Beckett strikes someone out, he stalks off that mound like he’s saying, ‘money’s on the table, bitch.'” And that is the god’s honest truth. Because I’m fully aware that were Beckett on another team, I’d probably think he was an arrogant, swaggering little punk. Hell, I think that now. But I also think he’s earned the right to swagger.
After a particularly nasty strike out last night I turned to Greta and said, “Do you think ‘Tek has a nickname for Beckett?”
“Joshua,” she replied.
“Yeah,” I said, “you’re right. ‘Tek probably doesn’t go in for nicknames.”
“Nothing frivolous like that,” she agreed.
This made me think of an exchange I’d had with Amy the following week about Ben Watson and his take on nicknames:
Me: He prefers ‘Benjamin,’ you know.
Amy: Do you think he and Jonathan Papelbon have discussions about how nicknames are just a way of showing that you can’t handle the awesome of your full name?
Me: And then Benjamin says something like “I mean, not that Tom isn’t, you know, a cool guy, or kind of awesome or whatever, but, you know, I just think he might be even more awesome if he went by ‘Thomas.'”
And then Papelbon will be like, “Yeah, man, I know what you mean, I mean ‘Tek is cool and all, but he should totally make people call him ‘Commander in Chief.'”
And then Watson’s all, “Um, that’s not really what I meant…but okay.”
And then they play checkers.
Amy: I think that is probably exactly how it went down.
And these are the kinds of discussions one can have when one isn’t concerned with what Manny’s gotten himself up to. You see? You see how much nicer a place the world is when we’re not worried about Manny?