Some nice posts / articles up today concerning the Official Binkies of this Blog.
Papel-blog links to a Gordon Edes story about Jonathan's reaction to the Gagne trade. I must say I am still amused beyond description at imagining the diva-fest that is going to ensue in that bullpen between the two of them. But I have a feeling they are going to be, as Forrest Gump put it, like peas and carrots. In my mind, they have already begun intense Scrabble facedowns in the clubhouse.
However, the real piece de resistance of this article is the nugget at the end about Jonathan's relationship with Tito:
"I had a long talk with Tito yesterday. I think [the reduced workload] is a blessing in disguise. When we come to the last month of the season, our starters are going to be on a tightrope and it's going to be, hand it over to the bullpen. We're going to take on a heavy, heavy workload. I think that was one of the main reasons we acquired Gagne."
At this time last season, Papelbon said, "I was a whupped puppy dog. Man, this year, I'm begging for more. You see the difference. That's all because of the bullpen we have this year, the way we can back up each other. I've got protection. We didn't have that last year. I was getting thrown out there more than the average person. And it's also because of the way Tito and [pitching coach] John Farrell run the pen. They've done an amazing job.
"A manager is not going to go through a season and be totally cushy with his players all year. He's dealing with a lot of alpha males in this locker room who want to go out and pitch and perform and play and be in the lineup. But Tito does an amazing job of keeping everybody's eye on what's important.
"The biggest thing here is just the respect we have for each other, between me and Tito and Theo. Hopefully, I can be with Tito the next 10 years or so in this clubhouse, and Theo. Tito is pretty much like a father to me. I came into this league with him, he taught me how to play the game, and I've only been with him."
Seriously, let's group-hug.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the touchy-feely spectrum comes a report dug up out of the news archives by Surviving Grady that I simply cannot get over, featuring the Young Josh Beckett, who was a beauty indeed:
After pitching a gem at the age of 23 to win the World Series in Yankee Stadium, all Marlins' ace Josh Beckett seemed to talk about was his plan to kill deer the next day. He rarely smiled, his answers were gruff, and his demeanor said, "This is no big deal for a stud like me." And all we could think was, "What a spoiled little punk."
Maybe being a royal jackass is what he needs to make him great on the mound, but when he reaches the peak of the magical mountain of all of sport, could he at least show a touch of grace or gratitude? Nu-uh.
And he's even more unbearable this year, as a March 21 interview session after a spring training game in Fort Myers showed. A reporter asked him about Fox Sports Network babe Leeann Tweeden, his new girlfriend. "Do I have to listen to the same fucking questions again?" he said to the reporter, a friend of ours. Then Beckett said, "I have a big dick." The jerk from Texas looked over at veteran outfielder Gerald Williams. "It's even bigger than Gerald Williams' dick."
Now, this might have been crudely amusing if someone else had said it, but coming from Beckett, it was just crude. Memo to Josh: We don't care if you're packing a Louisville Slugger under your cup -- you still gotta grow some class. Ask Garry Maddox or Alex Rodriguez (Editor's note: !!!!!) about it. They might be able to show you how.
Man, we think Diez y Nueve is OOC now, but there's really nothing quite like his behavior in the Florida years. It's clear from that article he has matured, as unbelievable as that might have seemed at times this year and last season. Now, rather than being a festering pile of Neanderthal meatbag, he's aged into "colorful."
Finally, Surviving Grady also laid down a call to arms I'd like to second: "if there isn't someone working on a DVD collection of Josh Beckett press conferences and interviews, then someone should be. Like, right now."