It hurts to look at Josh Beckett’s ERA from 2010. If we stare at it long enough, we might forget his poise and prowess during the 2007 postseason. I remember that’s when a colleague who is a tenured Philosophy Professor, born in South Africa, commented on Beckett’s demeanor. He said, “that Red Sox pitcher is so inside himself. It’s amazing.” This is a man who hasn’t watched too much baseball but knows beauty when he sees it. (One needn’t go further than his garage full of old Jaguar convertibles.)This element of Beckett is not something that ever really goes away, only when he is noticeably playing through injury.
All last year, I watched games where Beckett seemed like he might be returning to greatness. It was a long wait. Just like the end of the play by the other Beckett. Vladimir says “Well, shall we go?” His cohort says, “Yes, let’s go” Then the stage direction reads “They don’t move.” There wasn’t much that changed. But if we look at Beckett’s stats, he has always given up a lot of home runs. After all, he has won 20 games only once. At 30 years old, fans can hold onto their expectations for Beckett, somewhere in the 15-18 range for wins. The biggest change will be the comfort both he and Lackey will find in knowing their lineup is healthy and uniquely potent. We are still in winter and the stage is bare and it’s hard to know what’s coming until the big truck departs from Boston heading south. In this light, I am thinking we will utter Vladimir’s words at the opening. “I am glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.”
Photo by Matt Stone