Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto answered questions during… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett introduced themselves to Los Angeles in an oddly timed postgame news conference on Saturday night.
The atmosphere was largely festive, as fans who stayed behind cheered their answers and fawning reporters threw the players one softball question after another.
But when the television cameras were turned off, the contrast in the two players’ personalities became clear.
The bilingual Gonzalez spoke carefully and diplomatically in both English and Spanish. He was remorseful about something he did while with the Red Sox, but wouldn’t say what.
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Beckett was boldly unapologetic about his unsavory reputation, but was equally assertive in holding himself responsible for his on-field failures.
“Last year, everybody was telling me about taking more of a leadership role at the end of the year,” Gonzalez said. “This year, I tried to be more outspoken, and whenever you say certain things or do certain things, sometimes they fire back the wrong way. Everything that I ever did was for the sake of winning, and I think everybody over there in the clubhouse knows that. The way things were spinned is unfortunate, but I guess looking back maybe there were a couple things –- well, I shouldn’t say a couple things –- one thing I shouldn’t have done.”
Gonzalez sent a text message to the Red Sox owners complaining about Manager Bobby Valentine, according to a report by Yahoo.com. The New York Daily News reported that the text message was authored by Kelly Shoppach, even though it was sent from Gonzalez’s phone.
Was that what Gonzalez was referring to?
“I’m not going to explain about that,” Gonzalez said.
That was about as revealing as Gonzalez would be on this night. He wouldn’t say he was glad to be out of Boston. All he talked about was being happy –- happy to be in a pennant race, happy to play for the Dodgers, happy to be in Hollywood, happy to be near his native San Diego.
Beckett, on the other hand, acknowledged he felt it was best to leave Boston.
“It was time for me to move on and start a new chapter,” he said.
Beckett won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2007. But he became a source of controversy because of his off-the-field behavior. He ate fried chicken and drank beer in the Red Sox clubhouse during games with teammates Jon Lester and John Lackey, according to the Boston Globe. Beckett drew the ire of baseball-mad Boston when he was scratched from a start in May, but played a round of golf the next day.
Controversy was something Beckett didn’t want to revisit.
“I’m over that,” he said.
Beckett vowed to not change as a person.
“No, I’m going to try to be the same guy that I’ve always been,” he said. “I think that’s never changed. You go and try to do your job and that’s what I do.”
Beckett grew testy when asked about his reputation.
“Ask some more people,” he snapped. “Ask some different people.”
Does he feel he has he been misrepresented?
“Ask the people that are around me,” he said.
What would they say?
“I don’t know,” he said. “You have to ask them.”
But Beckett took responsibility for the Red Sox’s decision to trade four players to the Dodgers in order to shed $260 million in payroll.
Of Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington, Beckett said, “I don’t think that he wants to trade away everybody. I just think we made it impossible for him not to do that by not playing well. I’m as a big a part of that as anybody.”
Beckett was 5-11 with 5.23 earned-run average with the Red Sox.
Mechanical problems, he said, have resulted in his fastball moving less.
“Balls are up,” he said. “Balls getting hit hard. Even the groundballs, they’re getting hit hard. They find holes."
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