The level of local goodwill that Josh Beckett built with his historic 2007 postseason faded over time, and all but disappeared in the 2011 chicken-and-beer fiasco. And there's no doubt there are plenty of people -- a local talk-show host, most notably -- reveling in his 0-5, 5.91 start for the Dodgers.
But only the most heartless among us can be happy with the shocking news, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, that Beckett's career may be over.
"Any time something like that happens to your arm or you start losing feeling and stuff . . . you think about [retirement] for sure," Beckett, who is on the disabled list after four to five weeks of numbness in the fingers on his right hand, told the Times. "I don't really want to think like that right now. I want to think about figuring out a way to deal with this."
Beckett, a power pitcher with the Marlins a decade ago when they won the World Series, has needed to reinvent his approach a couple of times because of injuries. He's had trouble with his fingers before, but it's been with blisters, reportedly taken care of with Stan's Rodeo Cream.
Even this season, with a bad ERA and no wins to show for the Dodgers, he's still striking out 8.5 batters per nine innings. It's not a career high, but it's above his career average of 8.3. I suspect that Beckett can still get it done — provided they figure out why he can't feel the baseball.
Still, he's made enough money and accomplished enough on the mound (he has made 312 career starts, pitched on three All-Star teams and two World Series winners) that walking away at age 33 seems plausible, even sensible.
The last memories of Beckett in Boston aren't pleasant. He had a frosty relationship with the media, and wasn't exactly a great clubhouse leader during the infamous beer-and-chicken days. But he did help the Red Sox win a World Series. Championships are more precious than bemusing scandals.
And regaining the feeling in your fingertips is most precious of all.
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