Wednesday, November 23, 2005
So, Josh Beckett.
I almost don't want to write about this until it's a 110% done deal and Beckett is smoothing a Boston hat over his rotund noggin. I mean, a little part of me is still in that happy land where I woke up extra early so I could go online real quick before my morning classes and see that Theo's contract had been re-upped, and that we were headed for another several years of intelligent leadership, and I skipped off to class* with a smile on my face, because the Globe doesn't lie, you know? and gosh darn it, it was good to have Theo back...
No, I won't go there. That's the Special Happy Magical Fantasy Land, and I should save my mileage for when I'll actually need it, like, say, on Thursday at Ford Field.
I like that the majority of the stathead community is high on Sir Beckett. It's hard to trust someone who says they saw a dude pitch, and he looked pretty good out there, man, but in the insane and relatively tightly-knit world of internet sports bloggers and their ilk (yes, you readers count as 'ilk'), someone can only spout completely inaccurate numbers (or interpretations thereof) before someone else calls him or her on it (or, more likely, 1000 people call them on it, and insult their team and/or parentage while they're at it). And we've got a majority here, from what I've been reading, saying Beckett is salivary-froth worthy.
I've got a couple concerns, though.
1. BLISTERS. Recurring little fuckers, and they can dick about with your ability to throw properly quite a great deal. Sir Beckett's got 'em. I know he allegedly found some magical elixir to help him with them, enticingly called "Stan's Rodeo Cream" (via El Gammo, in an article far more important, in my view, for detailing the Bondo vs. Assholes in Oakland situation, and for outlining A Thousand More Reasons to Want to Give Jeremy Bonderman a Hug and Tell Him He's Awesome), but of course I find the whole thing a bit worrying. It would be easier in a way if he was like The Chinless Wonder** and peed on his own hands... nastier, perhaps, but everyone understands pee a lot better than some mystery cream.
2. OBLIQUES. He's got one (we've all got one!), and he's strained it. The thing with the oblique is, it's so easy to strain for a pitcher, because of the pitching motion... and it can really, as they say, fuck you up. See: Harden, Rich; Hudson, Tim.
3. BROODING. He does it, allegedly. The word on the electronic street is that he tends to hold onto things like losses and runs given up, and he'll go into deep and dark Moods about them, which, well, if he was doing that in Miami, where people probably are not even sure they have a baseball team much of the time... imagine how nicely that will fit in with the Boston media. Shaughnasty is wetting his curls with the drool of joy already.
4. CONSISTENCY. Much the same as the injuries bit. Can he do it? He's yet to throw 200 innings in a season, and he's still plenty young, so he could certainly be headed that way. But there's no proof yet, you know. I don't want his arm falling off while he's still young, of course, but still.
5. MIKE LOWELL. He comes with, sort of like when you want to ask the really cute guy in your lecture out on a date, but the only way he'll go is if you get one of your friends to take his roommate out on a date the same night, and his roommate is kind of big and slow and has greasy hair and smells like BO, really badly, you know, he's always that one kid in the class who sits in the corner and just emanates. Only instead of your friend having to take him out on a date, it's you who's got to, because the Red Sox can't necessarily just pass Lowell off to another team (although they may try), they have to take him along with Beckett.
Oh, and the friend of the cute guy? Won't pay for anything, the big lug of a smelly cheapskate. He also can't get it up (or, you know, bat .300), so you haven't even got that to fall back on.
Anyways, I guess all that I have to say about this trade so far can be summed up by viewing these fine, fine artworks of Beckett and Lowell (signed by the great men themselves!!!). Oh Debbie, my cherished fellow artist. Are you striving for realism or stylization here? Because it's hard to tell. And when it's hard to tell that, my friends, it is not artsy, it instead straddles an uncomfortable line and everyone comes away with the impression that realism was sought after, but not quite achieved due to a lack of, dare I say it, skill. If you're going to stylize, go all out.
Where is your light source, Debbie? I understand that you probably were working from photos, but could you not have invented a directional light source in the name of Art?
Why are the aforementioned 'realistic' portraits placed on backgrounds that look, quite frankly, like the stuff I was doing with crayons at age 5? Do you *heart* Jackson Pollock? Do you believe that the poetry of Mr. Beckett's pitching motion is in reality a curious homage to abstract expressionism? And if so, why not paint the entire thing in such a fashion?
Truly your rejection of accepted artistic movements awes me.
Her clients (presumably either people who bought paintings or commissioned them) include Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, and Ramiro Mendoza, which I think really says it all. Do you trust Kevin Brown's opinion of fine art? Do you really?
EDIT: The Jeff Conine chair! Bless her soul. For reals. Bless her.
From her bio: "Self-taught and with only 1 year of private lessons in oil paints when I was only 8, I have educated and challenged myself with new mediums and subjects." I'll give her this-- her grasp of anatomy, even if copied from photos, is pretty good for someone who is self-taught***. There's a lot of stuff that's very hard to get right with anatomy if you never take a class in it, stuff that it's human nature to exaggerate (like eyes) or draw too small (like feet or hands). But for color sense and sheer painterly style... oh Debbie, honey, self-taught? We never would have guessed.
EDIT2: The man speaks! John Henry answers questions on SoSH, and they leave it up for the public, which is just shocking for them these days. Anyways, worth a read, because what other sort of team owner goes onto fan internet forums and chats with them? Other than Mark Cuban. Mark Cuban doesn't count.
(PS: John Henry says 'LOL'. The Internet Revolution is complete.)
*Lies. I never skip off to class. I always freak out because I think I'm going to be late, and charge through the streets like a half-awake, deranged yak on a rampage.
I never actually am late, curiously enough.
**Jorge Posada. See?
***I won't say a word about facial features. Not a word.