The highlight of the last few days for me has been the sudden glut of Beckett content. And perhaps the highlight within the highlight was the year's first inappropriate f-bomb from the Commander, as pointed out by Surviving Grady.
Photo by Sam
I'll overlook the fact that the article was written by that villain of Patriots Nation, John Tomase, so amusing do I find this particular quote:
The thing about me that I won’t say is different, but the thing about me that I know is that I can live off of this for the rest of my life. It’s not going to be a problem. I’ll have some left over. I’m going to be buried with it, because I’m not going to leave my kids with a whole lot where they can be spoiled (bleeping) kids.
The only thing that would've been better is if he'd said this during a live press conference.
There was also this:
“My way of thinking is there really isn’t a big difference between $60 million and $70 million,” he said. “If you can spend $60 million, then chances are you’re probably going to spend $70 million, too."
We'll see if this tune changes when that contract comes due for renegotiation, but for now, it's refreshing to see a ballplayer even profess such an attitude after so many who've acted like the number of zeroes on their paycheck directly correlates to penile size. So often we've heard about "lowball" offers, still in the millions of dollars, as a sign of "disrespect." This was at least some assurance that regardless of what happens with his contract, Beckett probably isn't going to be trying to hold fan affection hostage for a few extra bucks with that "I really want to finish my career here"-press-conference-the-week-before-he-signs-elsewhere crap. At least, I hope.
In the meantime, this past Sunday we were also treated to a Beckett interview with Peter Gammons, something I looked forward to all week like a kid to Christmas. Unfortunately it came at the very tail end of the show, and required sitting through some commentary by the CHB first. But I'll take what I can get.
NESN showed him striding up onto the stage, a bull in a china shop, first heading in the wrong direction, then struggling with the clip-on mic as he tried to get settled in a chair next to Gammons. At the same time, there was that stern, deadpan presence about him that there always is, a kind of stillness even to his casual movements that suggests someone in charge.
When he spoke, he was light years away from the snarling creature with flared nostrils and bared teeth we've grown used to seeing in postgame interviews -- there was still that air of coiled power about him, but as soon as he stopped moving and started talking, it was diminished. He overuses the word "deal" and "ya know". He gestures with his hands as if searching for a word in the air. He could almost be described as soft-spoken.
Throughout the interview, Josh barely cracked a smile, except when he said Tim Wakefield is the best golfer among the veteran Red Sox pitchers. "It's experience," he said, and shrugged, only a tiny smirk betraying the joke.
Gammons also interviewed Jonathan Papelbon during the same show, and the closer drawled his way affably through the segment, eyes squinting in the Florida sun. "Threw a few too many heaters", was his assessment of last season. Ya think?
But seriously. The best thing about these interviews wasn't anything the players said -- it was just laying eyes on them and hearing them again. Coming off football season into baseball season is always weird; the two sports are like pickles and ice cream. Football players have all the personality of chess pieces under their helmets and shoulder pads -- they leap into the air with their whole bodies to celebrate, pound their chests, and you can barely see a grin behind their facemasks. Baseball players, meanwhile, you come face to face with. You become much more intimately acquainted with their expressions, their individual speech patterns, their body language and hand gestures.
These first days of Spring Training have been all about that face-to-face re-acquaintance. And when it comes to that, in Boston, we're spoiled beyond rotten.