Josh Beckett has made it clear that he’s thankful to the Red Sox and their fans for his time in Boston.
But that doesn’t mean he’s letting all the fans off the hook — especially those he thinks had it out for him this year.
Beckett ripped the local media and the larger Boston sports culture in a column by WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford on Wednesday, criticizing those who weren’t satisfied with what he brought to the team and those who he says were rooting for him to fail.
"It’s just a matter of time before they get you, basically," he said. "And that’s unfortunate. I think [Jon] Lester knows that. I think Clay Buchholz knows that. Your time will come."
Beckett talked with Bradford about a variety of topics, from how the trade went down to what he felt he accomplished during his time in Boston. But he wasn’t shy about what he calls unfair criticism. He said several times that he felt he was unfairly portrayed throughout his Red Sox career, although he did take the blame for his poor pitching performances this year.
Beckett said he wouldn’t have a problem recommending the Red Sox to other players — they just have to know, as he did, what they’re getting into.
"It’s a special place to play," he told Bradford. "As much as I’m looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people were just awesome. They were real fans.
"I think there’s the real fans and there’s the guys who go there to watch somebody fail. I get that sense. I don’t know what the percentage of each one is, but there are certain people who don’t want to see anybody succeed."
Beckett railed against the expectations he said fans have of the Red Sox not only getting to but also winning the World Series every year.
"I know they want to win a World Series every year," he said, "but it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen anywhere. I don’t care how much money you spend. … I don’t think that winning one World Series gets enough credit. It just doesn’t."
Beckett, of course, won a World Series with Boston in 2007. He also had a stellar run overall with the Red Sox, going 89-58 with a 4.17 ERA over seven seasons, with his strong seasons ranging as high as 20 wins (2007) or a 2.89 ERA (2011).
But Beckett’s lasting sentiment in leaving town appears to be that his accomplishments were overlooked in the ways he was presented to fans, especially when he started to tank this season. When he took accountability for his bad performances, he said, it was portrayed as though he didn’t care. He said he just wanted to be honest about how bad he was, but that was painted as him condoning or giving up on a bad season.
"You want to pitch good," he said. "It wasn’t working out. There’s times I wish I could have been more consistent."
Despite a season with many lows on and off the field, Beckett maintained that he doesn’t have any regrets. He said it was time for him to go, and when the trade came up, he approved his part of it — after checking in with teammates Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto, who were also part of the deal — and decided to look ahead.
No matter what Beckett thinks of failure-loving fans or the media, though, the now-departed ace and his critics can agree on one thing: Beckett just didn’t have it this season.
And in Boston, as Beckett appears to agree, that’s pretty important.