In some respects, he’s not the most marketable, media-savvy kind of guy. He rolls his eyes and chomps on his gum during press conferences, repeating the same phrases over and over in a droll tone of voice. If he’s not repeating the words “execute pitches” for the umpteenth time, he’s making reporters questions sound just as mundane and prepackaged as, truth be told, they really are.

He makes it clear that he’d rather be pitching, hunting or fishing – and you get the sense that this is how Josh Beckett has always been. You start to feel for the teachers he had in high school, who probably did their best to keep the class in line as the dark-haired boy in the back row slumped in his chair, stretched out his legs and stared out the window. They might have tried to stump him, challenge him, pose a tough question.

And yet Beckett is the kind of guy who probably gave that teacher a matter-of-fact gaze and delivered the right answer. Same as now: he’s so indifferent, above the whole media thing, but he gets the job done beautifully. Might be a pain in the ass to get an interview out of, but Lord knows that the guy knows how to pitch a ballgame.

Take tonight. Complete game of shutout ball. Four hits, eight strikeouts, no walks, 83 strikes in 108 pitches. He made Vlad, Orlando and the rest of the Angels look like Little Leaguers.

And the best part? Go back and watch the tape of the first few innings. Where Papelbon stares, Curt sweats and Dice-K rocks back and forth, Beckett is staring down with that same smart-ass half-smile on his face. He knows that he owns the batter and, as things get going, the ballgame.

It makes the least marketable, media-savvy guy suddenly the most.

(And it gives us a 1-0 lead in the ALDS!)

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