After Josh Beckett got shellacked by the Indians last night he faced the press. Not surprisingly, the press asked him about the golf-between-starts-despite-maybe-having-a-bad-back thing. Beckett politely — but defensively — told the press to mind its own business when it comes to his free time:
“I spend my off days the way I want to spend them,” he said. “My off day is my off day. We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little bit of time to ourselves.”
Then, when asked about the Fenway fans booing him off the field, he brought the honesty:
“It was directed at me,” Beckett said. “I pitched like sh**. That’s what happens. Smart fans.”
And while this will no doubt bring forth five days of people criticizing Beckett’s golf habits, the fans don’t boo and this isn’t a big deal if Beckett simply pitches well. That’s the problem here. Not “the perception problem,” as John Tomase puts it in this Boston Herald article. Just as no one would have given a rip about beer and chicken if the Sox hadn’t sucked on the field last September, no one cares about the golf if Beckett gets outs.
In other words, what fixes “perception problems” is not pitching like sh**.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: