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A breaking point for Josh Beckett

Updated: May 11, 2012, 1:28 PM ET
By Buster Olney

What Red Sox fans wanted to see after the last day of last season, after the September collapse, were broken-hearted Red Sox players. They wanted to see Josh Beckett laid out in despair, like Ralph Branca was after allowing Bobby Thomson's legendary homer. They wanted to see that the players cared as much as they did.

Beckett didn't give them this.

When the story about the chicken and beer broke, they wanted to hear Beckett throw himself on the mercy of Red Sox Nation. They wanted to hear an unqualified apology, and unqualified accountability, rather than griping about snitches.

Beckett didn't give them this.

When word broke this week that Beckett played golf while theoretically nursing an injury behind his pitching shoulder, what Red Sox fans wanted -- first and foremost -- was for Beckett to step up and shut down the Indians and provide a tourniquet for a team hemorrhaging games in the standings. And if that wasn't possible, they wanted an explanation from Beckett as to why it might have made sense for him to be golfing while being unavailable to pitch -- in the same way that an employer might wonder why someone calling in sick was seen partying on television at a ballgame.

Beckett didn't give them this.

From Gordon Edes' column, Beckett's postgame question-and-answer session, after the questions turned to the golf outing:

    Question (paraphrased): Did the golf business have any impact on how you pitched?
    Answer: None. None.
    Question: Anything to say about the golf business?
    Answer: No. I spend my off days the way I want to spend them.
    Question: Any regrets?
    Answer: My off day is my off day.
    Question: Given that you were skipped a start with what was described as a tight lat muscle, do people have the right to question why you were golfing?
    Answer: Not on my off day.
    Question: Do you understand the perception that leaves when the team is playing as poorly as it is?
    Answer: We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.

Beckett wouldn't relent; he is the embodiment of stubbornness, and he's pitching badly, as well.

There is a disconnect between the Red Sox fans and Beckett, reflected in the boos he heard as he came off the mound -- and even in the Boston front office, the question of whether he has irreconcilable differences with the team for which he pitches should probably be asked. The Red Sox should probably begin exploring trade avenues. Moving him might not be easy, short of giving him away, and even if a trade partner could be found, Beckett maintains 10-and-5 rights, and thus the ability to veto any deal.

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