Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pittsburgh Retrospective

Before recounting this story, I would like to apologize to all the readers of FenwayNation. I had this information back in June and I neglected to pass it along to you. That was a mistake on my part—especially in light of what transpired since then.

The story begins on Friday, June 24th in Pittsburgh. My son and I were fortunate enough to be able to travel to PNC Park to see two of the three games the Red Sox played against the upstart Pirates. Boston had erased memories of their dismal 2-10 start, and were a half-game up on New York entering the series. They had a great opportunity to build their lead against an inferior foe.

Of course, the two games we saw were Red Sox losses—3-1 on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday. Lester lost on Friday, Wakefield on Saturday. Here's where the story gets interesting.

Josh Beckett was supposed to have started on Saturday, but was scratched due to "intestinal turmoil"—the laughable euphemism used all year by Boston for "flu-like symptoms". On Saturday afternoon, we happened (by pure luck) upon the Red Sox team hotel—the Fairmont in downtown Pittsburgh. As we sat in the lobby, several players moved in and out—the gregarious Mike Cameron even took a picture with my 15-year old son.

Then, into the lobby came two Red Sox starting pitchers—both with golf clubs in tow. They were Jon Lester and the supposedly ill Josh Beckett (see photo). That's odd, we all thought—how can Beckett be in "turmoil" and be able to shoot a round of golf? It was filed away as an oddity—nothing more. Hey, maybe Tito was starting the "Big Rest-Up" for the post-season. No big deal, right? So, I didn't report it on FenwayNation. In retrospect, I should have.

This may have been an early example of the incidents we are hearing more and more about as the days pass. Maybe it was emblematic of the malaise that eventually destroyed the morale on this team and led to the September collapse and the departure of Terry Francona. We should have done better by our readers and reported it then. We apologize.