Monday, July 19, 2010

Josh Beckett and the Minor Leagues

It had the makings of a really long afternoon.

Josh Beckett was probably thinking the same thing we were on this particular day.  The weather was hot and steamy, the Pawsox were a mirror image of their major league brother - gutted - although instead of injuries, the Pawsox were afflicted with a case of the callhimupitis.  It seemed that the Triple A team had taken over the Red Sox roster, what with guys like MacDonald and Nava and Brown and Richardson and Nelson as so on playing "pivotal roles" in Boston.  Even worse, Beckett was caught up in some disgruntled sportswriters vision of a utopian Red Sox team (i.e. the kinds of teams with problems); it seemed that he was milking his injury just like Jacoby Ellsbury, or so it seemed.

It was a recipe for disaster.  The kids were hot, and when I say hot, I mean whiny.  The beer and ice cream lines were wrapping around the concourse with no relief in sight, and the Pawsox were playing a good Triple A team.  I don't remember who, but I do remember someone remarking that they looked "strong."  Everyone agreed though that seeing Josh Beckett pitch for a 45 minute drive and a $5 general admission seat was pretty cool.

It got me thinking.  Which Josh Beckett were we going to see?  The one that was leading the league in Home Runs allowed before landing on the disabled list, or the one that went 20-7 in that magical year in 2007?  Even my son knew that Beckett had a lower back issue, but when healthy, which Beckett were we going to see?  I just hoped that he comes out  of the start healthy.  I've had enough of Tim Wakefield.  And if only Beckett could play catcher, too.  He's definitely a better hitter than Kevin Cash.

1pm.  Pawtucket, RI.  The crowd was buzzing.  It was sweltering, but people still stopped what they were doing to watch Beckett throw in the bullpen and saunter out to the mound for his warm-up pitches. 

"Is that Josh Beckett?" My six year old asked me expectantly. 

I was sweating bullets, so I only half muffled by condescending tone when I joked "Ah yes, that is why we're here big G.  Do you remember seeing him while we were waiting for tickets?"

"But is that him walking out to the middle of the field?"

We moved on from that little discussion because we finally reached the beer line after the 20 minute wait for hot dogs I knew noone would eat.  His questions would have to wait for those couple of seconds as I take that first sip of ice cold beer.

We barely get back to our place in the left field berm when the top of the first inning ends.  We hear some oohs and ahhs as Beckett mows them down, probably in order.  We settle in as best we can under our shade umbrellas (such tourists!).

We watch a couple of more innings sweltering on the surface of the sun.  Beckett takes care of business in the second inning; nad we dirnk our second beers.  The third inning rolls around and it appears that Beckett begins to labor a bit.  We move to Right Field and I notice that Beckett begins mixing in some off speed pitches.  Before we move, MM predicts that a home run will be hit.  Of course, it was Beckett that gave up the home run as we begin our slow move.  I'm disappointed that Beckett gives up the home run, but I don't think anyone else notices.  My boys are starting to angle for foul balls (even though we're sitting in fair territory)  and my three year old daughter may have passed out on her Mother's lap. 

An hour and a half later, I decide that it's probably time to leave.  Beckett pitched four decent innings giving up only that one home run.  The Pawsox are winning 2-1.  My shirt has now completely changed colors from sweat and the kis drinks spilling on me.  Who knew I'd be the one wanting to leave a baseball game?  We hear that the kids can run the bases at the end of the game, so I begrudgingly agree to stay.  Ultimately, everyone had fun running the bases with the Pawsox mascot giving everyone high-5s. Even Mom got into running the bases. 

Which Beckett are we going to see next week?  I just hope one in a Red Sox uniform.

Photo courtesy of NESN

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