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Perhaps Beckett Should Travel With His Own Bed

09.29.09 at 8:18 pm ET
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Noted German literary great, philosopher and Renaissance man Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has inspired young thinkers for centuries. And so it is not surprising that Red Sox starter Josh Beckett may have benefited from having studied the sage.

You can bet Goethe didn't have a sore back when he posed for this.

You can bet Goethe didn't have a sore back when he posed for this.

Goethe insisted on bringing his own bed on his travels, feeling that doing so contributed meaningfully to one’s health while on the road, and helped weary travelers to avoid attacks from vermin in the middle of the night. (Of course, the noted voluptuary may have also had ulterior motives for bringing his own “sleeping” apparatus with him.) Perhaps this offseason Beckett would do well to enjoy a journey to Weimar, where Goethe’s travel bed remains on display at his summer house in Ilm Park.

That is because Beckett missed his start, by his own account, in no small part due to his having encountered “three crappy beds on the road and getting in (after traveling) at 5 in the morning. I don’t think that all of that really sat well with my back.”

Beckett was not alone. During the recently concluded 10-game roadtrip, Josh Reddick also ended up seeking treatment in Kansas City for his back due to what was likewise deemed a craptastic hotel bed.

On the bright side for Beckett and the Red Sox, the fact that the pitcher’s back spasms resulted from travel-related circumstances gave all parties cause for optimism. Though Beckett missed his start on Monday, getting scratched late in favor of Michael Bowden, the pitcher insisted that he was already feeling significantly better, and that he was fine to make his next scheduled start on Saturday.

“Absolutely, I think I’ll make my next start. I don’t think we’re going to need this, but I could go sooner if I needed to than Saturday. But I think right now, we’re kind of looking at Saturday to set things up [for the playoffs],” said Beckett. “It was just something that you wake up with. It wasn’t like I felt anything when I was throwing. You wake up and you’re locked up.”

Beckett had been grateful to receive an extra (fifth) day of rest prior to his last start in Kansas City. There is, of course, value to the idea that a pitcher will not be overtaxed at the time of his entry into the postseason, part of the reason why pitchers will often log abbreviated outings in their final start of the regular season prior to the playoffs.

That said, Beckett — who told WBZ-TV that he received three cortisone shots in his back — suggested that it was unclear whether this particular form of rest would offer the same salutary benefits.

“Obviously, you’d want it to be under different circumstances if you were taking a break, not sitting in a trainer’s room for three and a half hours yesterday trying to loosen your back up,” Beckett shrugged. “We did the things we needed to, and I feel a lot better than I did yesterday.”

That being the case, Beckett may perhaps be able to hold off on digging too deeply into the Sturm-und-Drang genre of literature for which Goethe is considered a key contributor — as long as his back feels better, the 16-game winner has little need to read the Sorrows of a Young Werther while contemplating the strictures of a society that cannot contemplate his Romanticist ilk.

Beckett may not need to look to the German poet — who died in 1832 — for inspiration. In 2007, after all, teammate Daisuke Matsuzaka also traveled with his own futon mattress as he tried to acclimate to American hotels. That said, Matsuzaka may not be the best spokesperson for the traveling bed strategy, since the Boston Herald reported in May 2007 that Matsuzaka felt that, by using a futon mattress in American hotels, in which guests do not leave their shoes at the door, he may have contracted a bug that left him throwing up during a game in Texas.

For now, with the Sox at home for the rest of the week as they finish up the regular season, all of this is academic. Beckett will make his start on Saturday, leaving him positioned to take the ball for the playoffs against the Angels…unless the beds in Anaheim undermine that goal.

Read More: bed, Daisuke Matsuzaka, johann wolfgang von goethe, Josh Beckett
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