Wednesday, June 20

A People's History of Josh Beckett

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

Ages of Empire

Today’s volume: St. Josh a Beckett.

If Josh Beckett was one of history’s great empires, who would he be? The storic Carolingians? The cunning Merovingians? No, of course not. If that was the case, Jose would have to learn something about those guys. Instead, Jose will compare Beckett to the Empire he knows the most about, his own. Yes, Josh Beckett is the American Empire, the one Jose and probably you, are living in right this very moment.

Why? Well, Beckett is young, cocky, and dominant and his dominance will last forever and ever and ever. So what if every other pitcher in history has eventually broken down, grown old and tired and ceded his preeminence. It will never happen to Beckett. Never! U.S.A.!!! U.S.A.!!!

Let’s explore the analogy in a bit more detail. In his infancy as a pitcher, Beckett stunned the leading power of the day, the New York Yankees, just as the upstart Americans routed the seemingly invincible British Empire. And like the colonists Beckett made an early tactical error, settling into the bullpen mound, known as Breed’s Hill rather than the Bunker Hill of a game mound. Nevertheless he recovered by refusing to throw until he saw the white’s of the eyes of opposing batters, or in the case of drugged up Jason Giambi, the blacks of his enormous pupils.

After that, Beckett spent years being distracted by problems with his own body, namely blistering. Similarly, America spent the 75 years after the revolution struggling with the blister on the finger of the body politic that was slavery. Hmm… You know what? Jose may have just diminished one of the great horrors in U.S. history. Slavery is much more like a cancer than a blister, which would make the U.S. more like Jon Lester, though Lester appears to have recovered from cancer much more quickly and completely than the U.S. recovered from slavery.

Well, Jose’s this deep in with Beckett, and he’s sure as hell not going to rewrite, so he might as well continue.

Beckett emerged into full prominence with his trade to Boston, much as the U.S. felt its full imperial oats following World War II, and like the U.S. Beckett’s emergence was immediately followed by problems. Much as the U.S. stumbled into Korea and Vietnam, arrogant yet clearly unaware of what it was getting itself into, Beckett stumbled into the American League. And both Beckett and the U.S. thought that the doing the same things that had made them great would keep them great. Beckett kept throwing fastball after fastball, just as the U.S. attempted to fight a conventional war against an unconventional foe, and both got walloped. The U.S. brought its troops home and Beckett brought opposing hitters home, on home run after home run after home run.

But the good news is much like the U.S. learned from Vietnam, Beckett learned from 2006. He came back in 2007 mixing in a fearsome curve with his lively fastball and establishing himself as the American League’s leading pitcher. Now, all Red Sox fans should breath a sigh of relief, because if Beckett follows the American path, he will never, ever repeat the mistakes of his Vietnam, the 2006 campaign. As surely as America learned a lesson about fighting unwinable wars with no support from the populace of the occupied nation, Beckett learned to mix in breaking pitches. Crap… we’re going to see nothing but fastballs next year aren’t we?

But while Beckett is beloved by Red Sox nation every bit as surely as the U.S.A. is loved by, well, Albanians anyway. (Note: Just kidding Americans love their country, Jose included.) There will be skeptics and critics. Perhaps noted Bostonian and Red Sox fan Howard Zinn will write a book entitled “The People’s History of Josh Beckett” which will harshly criticize his massacre of the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves, gentle tribes who just wanted only to maintain their ways of life.

But Josh Beckett will not be deterred. Like America, he is strong, invincible and more than willing to torture his opponents (note: but with fastballs up and in, not water boarding) if it will give him even the slightest edge.

2. Why doesn’t Rococo Crisp like Puerto Ricans?

Following a game in which he made a spectacular catch and went 1 for 4, the newly rejuvenated Crisp could have acted like the class act he purports be. He could have thanked God for his gifts and talked about the brotherhood of man, but no, instead he had to act like a reject from the cast of West Side Story.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, Crisp told the Boston Globe “I just don’t want any PR or PR man.”

Disgusting. Still there is a bright side, at least Crisp did not go after the DR, because that would have made for a really ugly clubhouse scene.

3. Curt Euro returned to Boston yesterday after a second poor start in a row for an MRI. Thankfully, the results were negative, finding only that Euro suffers from a severe case of “old.” However, doctors did give him a cortisone shot, which will at least ensure that his shoulder doesn’t itch.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.


Thanks to World said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Oh Jose, stop conflating the Korean and Vietnam wars. Korea was, after all, an war fought by international troops under a flag and mandate. Further, its what prevented all of Korea from ending up like North Korea.

Jose Melendez said...

Well, sure but that would hardly support the analogy.

Hairy Bird said...

Oh yes, Jose and his unforgivable continual conflating of wars. Everytime I read KEYS, I think "what 20th century conflicts will that crazy Jose conflate this time?" After all, the number one thing I look for in these columns is historical accuracy. Really, Jose, when will you learn that no one cares about baseball? Drop the sports related humor and stick to realistic expert analyses of military operations. Its obviously what your readers expect!

Jose Melendez said...

Great point hairy bird!

After all Jose didn't drink a huge toast to having past draft age on his 27th birthday becasue he didn't want to be in the military.

Jose will absolutely drop tomorrow's piece about what the Boer War can teach Julio Lugo about hitting and replace it with an essay on what the Boer War can teach Sri Lankas juion officers about neutralizing the Tamil Tiger insurgency!

lucky number 33 said...

Jose, I must know: is Derek Jeter, then, Vladimir Putin?

They both have such calm (dead) eyes.

Jose Melendez said...

Interesting question. Jose's going to have to say no, for while Putin and Jeter have both stolen champoionship rings, Putin did it without help from Jefferey Maier