Red Sox

Mike from Attleboro: Beckett has earned right to be booed

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Mike from Attleboro: Beckett has earned right to be booed

As Josh Beckett left the mound with an injury during Tuesday nights game, he got what he has been receiving and deserving of all season long: a chorus of boos from the Fenway Faithful. Now the question being asked is; was it right? Was it right to boo a player coming off the field with an injury?

My answer in this case: Absolutely.

Beckett has been a consistent disappointment since the SS Red Sox started to take on water last September. Unfortunately for fans, First Class White Trash is apparently allowed to board the life boats first, because both Beckett and John Lackey survived the offseason purges. While numerous people lost their jobs, because Beckett and company didnt feel like acting professionally, Josh continued to simply collect his checks and enjoy his valuable time off.

Some fans and maybe even some front-office members thought that all the vitriol that was sent Becketts way would serve as motivation for the headstrong right-hander. They hoped that maybe this would be something that spurred Beckett to rededicate himself and show up to camp committed to succeed and in shape, much like David Ortiz did.

How wrong they were. What Red Sox fans got instead was a difficult, entitled diva who stubbornly wanted to prove to everyone that he could do things his way. He didnt care that he was, at the very least, partly responsible for sending strength coach Dave Page and manager Terry Francona to the unemployment line. He would eat whatever he wanted, work out as he saw fit and do it without a hint of remorse. So far this season, that attitude and the hubris born from it has blown up in his chubby face.

Fans are now so completely fed up with him that they wanted him & his Casey Donahew Band bottle opener shipped out at the deadline, for pennies on the dollar if need be. The return on that deal didnt matter. It would have been a classic addition by subtraction deal.

So when Josh Beckett wasnt traded and then took the mound yesterday evening, the powder keg was primed and the fuse was just waiting to be lit. The rainy, midweek game would provide no refuge for Beckett either. Pink hats are a lot of things but waterproof isnt one of them, and the nights precipitation washed any fair-weather make up off the face of Red Sox Nation. Only the diehards remained and their almost universal disdain for Beckett is white hot.

So when Beckett gave them the slightest excuse to show their discontent, the loyalists obliged, with relish. A major and obviously catastrophic injury would certainly have drawn a different reaction from those assembled. But back spasms are the type of injury that tend to plague the sloth and doughy, so there should be no remorse given or required. Becketts 18-hole rehab assignment earlier this season rightly denied him any benefit of a doubt. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow and last night Becketts back prompted the harvest.

This wasnt Jets fans cheering as Chad Pennington was injured. Chad Pennington was an obviously game and dedicated player. The numerous injuries he suffered in his career were as serious as his attempts to come back from them. Penningtons play was the only discernible source of discontent for Jets fans and they cheered his injury for the same reasons they retired to Gate D for halftime sexual harassment, because they are unrepentant Cro-Magnons.

The booing Beckett got was a frustrated fan base giving the object of their discontent the reception he deserved because in addition to his numerous other missteps, he had committed the cardinal sin: Not caring. You can suck. You can suck hard. But you better look like you give a crap while doing it. This season, there is no public impression that Beckett cares about anything but his off days. Personally, I dont think Beckett was upset that he had to leave the mound. I bet he was more disappointed that after the game he wouldnt be able to outrun Peter Abraham to his car in the team parking lot.

Josh Beckett shouldnt be a sympathetic figure today. His performance and his attitude have put him front and center in the fans cross hairs. Last nights booing was just a reflection of that. Injury or no injury, the fan bases response was just as unvarnished as Becketts are to the press. Unlike his paycheck or his job security, the vitriol from Red Sox fans is the one thing Beckett has made the old fashioned way this year. He earned it.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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