It’s no secret that I am not the biggest fan of Spring Training. It’s not because I’m not happy that baseball is almost back. Far from it. I am wicked pumped that we are a month away from the start of the baseball season which means we are closer to summer and nights of coming home from a summer job, opening up a cold one, and sitting down and enjoying a baseball game. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Spring training, that’s another story. Spring training is filled with numerous bull-shit stories about so-and-so lost 25 pounds and is ready to break out and aging veteran player X is willing to do whatever it takes to win a world series. I hate those stories because they are the same thing every single year. There might as well be a form for all baseball writers that they need to fill out to get a baseball article in their newspaper.
There is one type of spring training story I do like and I really like this story in terms of all pre-season stories. Any story where players are showing major confidence in their team or themselves is something I like to keep an eye on. When players are confident (unless its like stupidly confident like a member of the Kansas City Royals saying they are going to win 116 games and the World Series) it can usually be a good sign for the season that everyone is ready to go with the season.
Enter Josh Beckett. Another not so secret fact is that the former Boston Red Sox ace had one of his worst seasons of his career last year when he posted a 5.78 ERA and a 1.5 WHIP. Not exactly the statistics that Red Sox fans were hoping for entering the season. From all the reports from Fort Meyers, Beckett has come back stronger than ever after a great off-season. Again, I hate these stories, but it leads into the type of stories I like, and if you’re lost about the levels of stories that I like and don’t like, its okay. This may be more confusing than Inception at this point.
There’s one thing that Josh Beckett has never done and has always wanted to do. That is win 100 games in a season. I feel like Beckett is speaking for all the Red Sox when he says he thinks that this team may be good enough to do it.
“I think we have a really good team and we have a chance to do something really special,” Beckett said. “There’s something I’ve wanted to do my entire career and never been able to, which is be on a team that wins 100 games. I’ve come close a couple of times, but this is the first real legit chance I think we have to do that.”
While that’s a bold statement, it’s also a telltale sign that Beckett is raring to go.
“I think if I’m healthy the numbers will be there,” he said.
First of all a disclaimer. If this was pre-2004, or god forbid 2004 never happened, today’s scare at practice probably would have been a season ending concussion or something for Josh Beckett for being confident about their chances. Not that there was a curse or anything, but you KNOW that would happen.
Anyway, I like what I hear from Beckett. I love my teams confident and ready to go. I loved when the Celtics came into camp this past year knowing that they thought they were the best team in the East and maybe even the NBA. I love when the Red Sox come into camp thinking they can win 100 games and contend for a World Series. They should be thinking that and know that they have to do work in order to make that happen.
Now, my enemies will say that I hate the Jets. But there is a difference. Teams like the Jets are cocky saying things like “We will win”. Beckett doesn’t cross that line. He says “I believe” which means they know they have the ability to do it but it’s still going to take hard work. That’s the difference between confidence and cockiness.
And for a guy like Beckett to be saying something along these lines is a great sign. Josh Beckett knows he had a crappy season last year, especially considering he signed a nice extension before the year. A lot of people were beginning to write him off as if his best days were behind them. Josh Beckett doesn’t want to be just another player who signs a nice fat contract, then gets fat and fails to live up to the expectations. He wants to be considered an ace again and he knows he has the ability to do it. If Josh Beckett can regain anything of his former self, the Red Sox could posses one of the top number three starters in all of baseball and potentially the entire American League.
Will he be back to his World Series MVP mode or his 2007 playoff savior mode? Probably not, but there is no way Josh Beckett is nearly as bad as he was last year. My Sportacular Iphone app alerted me about a Red Sox game starting today. We are a month away from the baseball season and I can’t wait.