When Josh Beckett was out of Boston, his final acrimonious days finished, he had a message for Boston fans and his remaining pitching buddies, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.
“It’s just a matter of time before they get you, basically,” the former Sox hero said then of the Boston sports culture. “And that’s unfortunate. I think Lester knows that. I think Clay Buchholz knows that. Your time will come.”
Lester and Buchholz’s time has come, but it’s a different kind of time. The two, who competed at different points this season for the title of Red Sox ace, are leading Boston into the postseason as the city rediscovers its love for the Boys of Summer.
It’s a feeling that Lester, with the Red Sox since 2006, says he hasn’t ever quite known.
“This team, it’s a complete opposite of anything I’ve been around,” Lester said, according to The Boston Globe. “From the moment you walk in, guys were laughing, cutting up. Nobody is safe in the clubhouse as far as getting yelled at. It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 years in or if you’ve got one day. Everybody is having fun. And then when the time comes for seven o’clock to roll around, guys go out there and they do what they need to do, and they’re prepared, and they play hard. And the guys that are on the bench are keeping those guys loose and having fun doing it. It’s been a joy to be around.
“I never thought, just being around this market for a couple of years, you could actually do that here, and it’s a pleasant surprise. And hopefully we can continue to carry it over for the remaining time that I’m here. The other guys are here and really just have fun playing the game.”
Lester is due to start Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday afternoon, a situation that had him saying he was ready to “bust my butt” as the Tampa Bay Rays came to town.
Red Sox fans will have to wait to get him another day.