BGP

Josh Beckett, yet again, proved he is a BGP – Big Game Pitcher. With his team facing elimination, in a hostile environment, against a lineup he owned less than a week ago, Beckett managed to overcome any distractions ‘Pecking’ away at him and pitched a gem.

Beckett proved himself in ’03 when he pitched the Marlins past the Cubs, and then the Yanks for the World Series title. But last night’s performance against the Tribe might be the most significant of all.

The adversity started before Beckett even toed the rubber. I could hear Red Sox Nation groan when Manny decided to not slide and was thrown out at home to end the top of the first.

I contemplated turning off the game. Instead I stayed-tuned with an I’m-going-to-watch-the-Sox-last-game-of-the-season frame of mind.

Then Grady Sizemore led off the bottom of the first with a double, and Cabrera followed with a wounded-duck single. I cringed. I thought to myself: “Does Girardi (referring to Fox analyst Joe-denying any contact with the Bronx Bombers while shopping for pajamas-who asserted that Beckett was injured) know something?

When Haefner grounded into the double play, I exhaled. Any relief seemed short-lived.

Manny hit the longest RBI single in the history of the game. Then a couple innings later Lowell’s line drive bounced just foul. Kielty flied out with bases loaded. Lugo grounded into a double play, and the Sox seemed more intent on hitting double play balls then driving in runs. Coco tried to bunt but couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.

Every time the Indians ended a Sox rally, it seemed inevitable that the momentum would carry over to the Cleveland bats. I kept waiting for the Tribe to figure Beckett out.

Then in the fifth Lofton and Beckett have their tete-a-tete. I said to my daughter: “This can’t be good. Now Beckett is just gonna rare back and fire smoke. Everything will get out of control. Instead Varitek took over. The wily veteran called for the deuce. Then he called for the deuce again. Rather than relying on adrenalin ‘Tek got Beckett to focus and pitch.

Somehow despite all the possible negative karma that would have doomed Sox teams prior to ‘04, this group, with Beckett at the helm, did their finest 007 and made plans to “Die Another Day.”

Beckett retired six in a row, or was that ten in a row, or was that nine in a row? What was it? How many batters in a row did Beckett retire? McCarver, do you know how many?

I digress – Isn’t it great how McCarver has anointed himself as the leader of the club known as Manny-is-everything-that-is-wrong-with-the-game? Is Wally his vice president? That would be a great picture. Wally and McCarver, arm-in-arm, standing by a fire of dreadlocks.

Funny how it goes-the other day one of the talking heads mentioned that Manny was out on the field hours before game time taking fungoes off the Green Monster. That seems to be forgotten. As does Manny’s batting practice regimen. We can all condemn him for standing in the box too long, but his teammates love him – they friggin’ love him. Many are the major leaguers who would love to have as many opportunities as Manny does to stand in the batter’s box and watch as the ball sails over the fence.

Is it possible that Manny doesn’t fit into our stereotype of a professional athlete? Is he not worthy of being a baseball player? Would we rather that Manny played like Pete Rose? Or maybe Manny should be more like Mark McGwire? Or Rafael Palmiero? Or Barry Bonds?

The next time Papi or Lowell has a walk off check out the mob at home plate. Who is in there celebrating? Yeah that’s right – Manny. I’ll take his .500+ playoff average, his 15 game LCS hitting streak, and his 24 post-season round trippers.

Alas back to Beckett – not even an old flame could distract him from the task at hand. Mere coincidence that Danielle Peck sang “God Bless America”? Maybe. Still couldn’t distract Beckett.

Remember when the BoSox traded Hanley Ramirez and other prospects to the Marlins, and in return Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell came to Fenway? Remember how the peanut gallery relentlessly reminded everyone about this trade as Ramirez earned Rookie-of-the-Year Honors in ’06? Where are those people now?

7 Responses to "BGP"

  1. Wally   October 19, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Two comments:

    I hate McCarver as an announcer. He’s useless white noise, and how dare you pair us up!!

    Beckett’s deuce is undoubtedly what makes him great. The 12-6 vertical drop and his ability to consistently throw it for strikes … set off, of course, against his great fastball … distinguish him from the rest. He IS what Mark Prior and Kerry Wood were supposed to be. He IS as good as Clemens and Big Unit were in their prime. He WILL BE the reason the Saux win it all … IF they can manage to cover up for Schilling & Dice-K this weekend.

    Wally

  2. Eugene   October 19, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    I like how you guys keep that little bit of hope even though anybody sane would know that it’s all over for the sox. Nothing but respect for beckett, but for the rest of the team, maybe you should win when he’s not pitching!!!!

    Gino

  3. Muels   October 19, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    Saux fans (and management) made their peace with Manny and his shenanagins long ago- the guy is a freakin’ goof, but a hittin’ machine like nobody’s business! We could use a little help from the bottem of the lineup, however…

  4. JD   October 19, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Anybody seen a bloody white sock that Schill can use. Oh yea, that was just some big lie, but hey whatever gets you through the night.

    I must admit Manny is growing on me. At first glance he acts like an idiot and you worry about his committment to “Team”, but he mashes, plays hard and is not affected by pressure. Many players would gave crumbled after getting criticized like he did the other day. Many players but not Manram; he goes out and takes extra BP, plays just as hard and contributes to his teams win. Another point – by being the focal point of the team he takes pressure off of the other players. The media wants to hear from Manny and watches what he does which allows the others to just play. Finally I respect his honesty. Let me let you in on a little secret, Manny’s right, if the Sox don’t win the World Series it is not the end of the world and the sun will come up tomorrow.

  5. ccww   October 20, 2007 at 1:11 am

    JD – you got me singing Annie.

    Gino – great to hear from you my Caribbean brother- did you notice Lowell uses a D-Bat?

    Muels – the bottom of the order will improve when…when..when…Ellsbury gets inserted?

    Casey

  6. ccww   October 20, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Beckett – Schilling and the good Lord willing.

    Casey

  7. Muels   October 20, 2007 at 10:16 am

    By the way- Beckett thanked the Indians for flying in a friend of his to watch the game for free! That she sang the National Anthem as well was nice, too! HE is the Rock of the Mound…

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