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**.