This afternoon, Josh Beckett and Theo Epstein sat hunched over microphones in the press briefing area at Fenway Park, interrupting our
Opening Night hangovers workday afternoons with a press conference announcing Beckett had been signed to a four-year, $68 million contract extension.
Questions were asked about the shoulder problems that have been rumored in the press as the reason the Sox denied Beckett the fifth year Lackey got. Beckett merely informed those gathered that his shoulder, as a veteran of major league pitching, no longer looks like that of a fourteen-year-old boy (his specific comparison) but denied there are any major problems. Like he'd say otherwise anyway...
As when I was mulling over the Beckett contract situation last week, I have mixed emotions. Part of me is, of course, ready to shout from the rooftops to the rest of the American League that the Commander remains ours, bitches, so hide your teenage daughters and your extra cans of Skoal.
The other part of me is reminded of another Opening Week a couple years ago, the one that saw thousands of pasty Bostonians donning headbands imprinted with Japanese slogans and learning the Japanese words for "strikeout" and "badass pitching savior from over the seas." The one that concluded with that day's guest of honor, Daisuke Matsuzaka, getting shelled, and my uneasy conclusion as I walked past all the crumpled signs and un-bought Daisuke swag on the souvenir stands on the way out that all the pomp and circumstance and rolled-out red carpets were sure going to look foolish if Dice didn't live up to his billing.
I hope that in four years I'm looking back on this as the start of Josh Beckett's second wind as VP of Asskickery for the Boston Red Sox organization, and not as the beginning of another Daisuke-like disappointment.