The Beast: Being John Lackey

Perhaps no man is more hated in the AL East—or more troubled.

  1. John Lackey is a giant in a very small universe: It includes his wife, and it includes baseball — and even then, it includes just throwing a baseball, really. When a man defines his universe so narrowly, his own range must also become smaller. He has only two possible paths. If he achieves greatness, it will be that rare sort of greatness that only single-minded men can achieve. The risk is that not much has to go wrong for it to seem as though everything is falling apart.

    This season, a lot has gone wrong for Lackey, who was supposed to be the always reliable and sometimes spectacular fourth starter for the Boston Red Sox. "Everything in my life pretty much sucks right now, to be honest," he said after losing to the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-3, on May 11. He caught himself before he spilled out much more onto the locker room carpet, but his brief confession still made the rounds. Baseball players don't often open themselves up like that, especially not baseball players in Boston. And wors...

The complete text of “The Beast: Being John Lackey” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in Grantland, June 2011

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