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Beckham bending but not breaking

George Ofman

I know my stuff. 36 years in broadcasting. Sox Cubs Bears Bulls Hawks. You ask, I'll answer


The golden child looks a little green, like a rookie. This was supposed to be the year Gordon Beckham would overtake Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen as the Face of the White Sox Franchise would; Hollywood looks with a Hall of Fame future.

It's not happening.

"I haven't played very well all year. What can you say, it's my fault."

Beckham looks a little rough around the edges these days, the results of a .206 batting average and just 2 home runs. At this rate, he's headed for a face lift and the hall of shame. "It's frustrating. The baseball Gods are not smiling down on me." 

Neither is Ozzie Guillen, the Sox God of the dugout. Beckham is on the bench again because Brent Lillibridge, (whose face belongs on the cover of some teen magazine because he looks about 12 years old) is producing.




How did this happen? How did a much ballyhooed kid from Georgia go from the "Sporting News" rookie of the year, to a guy who belongs on "Lost?" White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker saw it coming. "The time I spent with him this winter he doubted he could do it again. I didn't hear the confident kid in spring training I thought I would. He was looking for problems.  He's never experienced failure. The hardest part of this game is learning to deal with failure.

He is now, or at least he's trying to. Beckham hit only .235 in April. No problem; just wait until May. The baseball Gods were waiting. Beckham scratched out only 13 hits; no doubles, no triples, no homeruns. His batting average was a microscopic .159!  This kind of production wouldn't get him a bit part in Hollywood, let alone the leading man opposite the beautiful babe. There were more than just whispers he belonged in the minors. "I always wanted to do well and when you don't for a prolonged period of time you feel allot of things are against you in the game. It's not fun." Walker thinks it has more to do with how Beckham was presented.  "We feel this kid was one of those rare guys that just showed up and would never look back. It wasn't the case. Between making him our golden child and assuming allot of things, it just turned into what it turned into. He just lost the feel for hitting."

For those of you scoring at home, this is not a good thing. But no one's giving up on the golden child, especially Guillen who is surprised by Beckham's poor showing. "I think this kid is a very good player and has a chance to be a very good one. I don't think he should worry about it." And Walker, who says he's done everything he can from analyzing his swing to discussing the thought process of hitting, believes strongly Beckham will regain his form. "Long term, I don't doubt this kid's future. He's obviously talented." But is Beckham buying into becoming the player everyone thinks he will be? "Everything came pretty easy for me last year and is hasn't come so easy this year. But the all star break is coming up and I've heard a million stories about people who can turn it around after the all star break. It happened for me last year. I was playing ok up until then and I played pretty well after that."

Maybe the golden child will have a Hollywood ending after all.

You can follow me on twitter @georgeofman and on Facebook. And listen to me as a contributor on WGN Radio 720.



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