Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey is set to spend the 2012 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. As such, the 33-year-old right-hander is planning to keep a low profile in the clubhouse as he goes about his work.
But what kind of Red Sox season would it be if Lackey didn't stick his foot in his mouth and come away looking like a lout at least once? In talking with Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy about last year's collapse — and the "fried chicken and beer" media firestorm that followed — Lackey drops a word that most of us left behind on the grade school playground.
"Guys having a beer after their start has been going on for the last 100 years,'' Lackey said. "This is retarded. It's not like we were sitting up there doing it every night. It's not even close to what people think.''
Hey, what's that old saying? Better to remain silent and be thought a troglodyte than to speak up and remove all doubt? Clubhouse talk will never be the definition of polite, but you'd think someone who was just decrying what he thinks is an undeserved reputation for being boorish would choose his words a little more carefully.
Thing is, Lackey was doing a pretty good job of telling his side of what was an awful 2011 season (12-12, 6.41 ERA) for him. The Shaughnessy piece is worth the read just for those quotes, because I can't imagine what it's like to be injured and pitching poorly in a baseball and media mad city like Boston.
At the same time, Lackey can't deny he's also been involved in creating that public image. Perhaps he can squeeze in a few media lessons between those elbow exercises.
UPDATE: John Lackey issued the following statement through the Red Sox media department on Tuesday afternoon: ""I apologize for my thoughtless choice of words that appeared in print earlier today. I meant no harm, and I am sorry to all I offended."
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