TEMPE, Ariz. – Nine years and a lot of 1-2-3 innings later, John Lackey is back in math class.
Word spread here recently that Lackey, the Los Angeles Angels' ace, had celebrated his second-round selection in the June 1999 draft by blowing off his sophomore Algebra final at Grayson County (Texas) Community College (in the clubhouse, the surreptitiously posted report card both started and seemed to confirm the rumor), resulting in an F in the class.
One morning last week, before a highly amused audience of Angels players and personnel, manager Mike Scioscia put Lackey's mother on a speaker phone and notified her of young John's transgression, which apparently came to her as a surprise.
Big laughs, of course.
Well, early in Scioscia's clubhouse meeting Monday morning, the doors opened and two book-ish types – a man and woman – were escorted in. They were math professors from nearby Arizona State. And they brought Algebra tests.
"We're going to rectify it," Scioscia said.
Except not only is Lackey going to retake that sophomore final, he's going to compete against Reggie Willits (representing the University of Oklahoma), Rob Quinlan (Minnesota) and Jeff Mathis (the state of Florida) for the highest grade. The professors recommended the take-home tests be completed in 30 minutes.
"We're giving them an hour," Scioscia said dryly.
They were to return the tests Tuesday. And Scioscia hoped they wouldn't be too distracting.
"We're doing defense on double steals today," he said. "That's a little more important."
Lackey's reaction? Well, let's say he wasn't exactly Kyle Kendrick.
"That's for the team, man," he snapped at reporters. "That's not for y'all."
Just for that, we're not going to help him make up that English test.