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Sunday, February 19, 2012
Hot Button: Did Beckett say enough?

By Gordon Edes

Josh Beckett
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Whatever agenda Josh Beckett took into his media session Sunday, coming clean wasn’t on his to do list.

The Red Sox pitcher admitted to some “lapses in judgment,” but when pressed to describe what those were, vaguely referred to “mistakes in the clubhouse.”

He acknowledged being “distracted,” but left it to reporters to guess what those distractions were (most likely, he was referring to the birth of his first child, but that’s just an educated guess).

Asked whether it was fair to have been singled out as being out of shape, he owned up only to having put on “a little bit of weight,” an occurrence he said he could not explain.

Feel any responsibility for trainers and strength coaches who were fired, some of whom were his friends? “I don’t make those decisions,’’ he said.

Any expression of regret for anything? No, other than not pitching better in his last two starts of the season.

Any pledge to do things differently? No. Other than not to get distracted.

Read the transcript of his session. No difference in the clubhouse vibe, he said. The only change between the clubhouse in September (and April) and the rest of the season was winning and losing. The team lost in the bookend months. In between, the clubhouse was great.

And at no time did you hear Beckett express a desire to be a leader, or a better leader than he has been in the past.

Disappointing, but not surprising. It’s not in Beckett’s DNA to offer a public mea culpa. Let’s hope that within the clubhouse, he delivers a different message to his teammates, but I wouldn’t count on it.
The contrast between remarks made by Beckett and teammate Jon Lester could not have been more striking. Lester acknowledged he was “not proud of” his behavior last season, expressed a desire to be more of a leader last season, and said, “We stunk. I stunk … I take complete responsibility for it.’’

Beckett said he didn’t execute pitches.

Responsibility? The word never passed from his lips.

And what does the new manager think of all this? Bobby Valentine said he believes in actions more than words, but allowed that in this case, maybe some things needed to be said.

Jon Lester saw it that way. Josh Beckett? Not so much.

Editor's note: Edes' argument was one half of our Red Sox Hot Button on whether fans are ready to move on from the collapse of 2011 and the aftermath. Edes and Joe McDonald discuss it more in the video below: