Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

I've been talking to myself just to suggest that I'm selfish

AP photo/Lori Shepler

In regard to Josh Beckett throwing at Bobby Abreu on Sunday, this comment was left by an Angels fan on the Angels official website:

In a replay, Abreu motioned for a time out, and the umpire granted it. I personally thought that Beckett might have started his forward motion, and let it go high rather than try to hold up and end up pulling something.

It went awfully high for a good pitcher trying to send a message to the batter.

I thought it particularly insightful coming from a member of the fan base that was, seemingly, wrong. Plus, I agreed with the writer’s assessment. I don’t think Beckett was aiming for Abreu’s head. I think Beckett let the ball go loose and high because he was annoyed at the time out and didn’t want to halt his throwing motion. Jon Lester did a similar motion in the second game of the season and I don’t remember any of the Rays getting upset about it (I only saw it in person, though, so I only saw where the ball ended up, not how close it came to the Tampa Bay batter).

So reading this annoyed the hell out of me:

NEW YORK — Boston pitcher Josh Beckett has been suspended for six games and fined by Major League Baseball, which determined he intentionally threw a pitch near the head of the Los Angeles Angels’ Bobby Abreu last week.

Beckett also was cited for “aggressive actions” after the pitch that led to the benches clearing Sunday, according to Bob Watson, vice president for discipline in the commissioner’s office.

Now I totally agree that Beckett should have been reprimanded/fined/suspended for “aggressive actions” after the pitch. He should have stayed on the mound and kept his mouth shut and let Abreu do his jawing to the umpire. His coming off the mound is what caused each bench to clear. So, sure, I’m fine with that. But I absolutely don’t believe he intended to throw at Abreu’s head.

What’s the motivation? Is there some unknown feud between the two players? It was the first inning, it isn’t like anything had happened yet to make Beckett feel like he had to react. Sure he gave up a hit and Chone Figgins then stole second but Beckett proceeded to get Howie Kendrick (when did he become “Howard”?) to fly out. Nothing had happened during the series prior to that game. And while Beckett has a reputation for being a bit of a bad ass, he doesn’t have one for being a head hunter. So why did Joe West see no intent in that pitch yet Bob Watson did? It isn’t as if Watson has a history of busting the chops of the Red Sox or anything.

All in all, I think punishing Beckett for inciting the milling about that could have led to a fight is the right thing to do. But I have more faith in the opinion of the guy on the field (that would be Joe West in this case) who saw no intent than I do in the guy sitting in his office drooling at the thought of sending a message to Beckett and the Red Sox (that would be YOU, Mr. Watson). EDITED on April 15th to add this link to the SoSH wiki page on Bob Watson. It outlines many more “issues” he seems to have had with the Sox.

I hope Beckett appeals and it gets cut back to the typical 4-game suspension that MLB seems to dole out for pitchers. I also hope we don’t hear from Beckett on this. The last thing we need is for him to make matters worse for himself and the team.

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April 14, 2009 - Posted by | 2009 | ,

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