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June 13, 2011

John Lackey: Being the Beast

Big money. Big personal issues. And big-time struggles on the big stage. Trying to get in the new X-Men movie.

"It all started two years ago. It was a nice day out in LA, so I went outside to enjoy some fresh air on my deck." From that point on, John Lackey would find himself spiraling into a deep cavernous obsession, beginning with just some casual reading, to eventually shitting up the Red Sox rotation.

The smog from the morning had lifted. The porch of the Lackey's was filled with sunshine, tanning the watersealed wood like a someone who traveled to Africa and forgot the sunscreen, cause, you know, you can't go down to 7-11 in Africa and pick some up. It's fucking Africa. They don't even have Kum and Go's. John was sitting in his hot tube filled with cheese, or what he called it, a fonduzzi

"I was bored of breaking off bread in the fonduzzi, and decided to travel down to the store and buy some lobster to dip in it. That's when I saw the comic book store."

Lackey had stumbled upon one of the great comic stores in Los Angeles, piquing his interest. He pulled his yellow mercedes into the handicapped spot, and left it running, while he entered the store.

"The shit spoke to me. I was fingering all the pages of all the comics, and then I saw the X-Men comic. It was love at first sight."

Lackey smiled, his eyes welling up.

"It was like when I proposed to my wife, but, like, better."

Lackey was instantly drawn to the character of Dr. Hank McCoy, or like most know him, Beast. 

"Blue is one of my favorite colors."

For days on end, Lackey would spend the sunlight hours, reading the comics. In between innings when he was pitching, Lackey would have a comic book in his hand, and for games against the Royals, he just taped strips to the bottom of his hat.

"It was just the Royals so it was cool."

Then, nearing the end of the 2010 season, he saw an ad on craigslist, asking for talent for the new reboot of the X-Men series. Lackey was on the phone in seconds.

"I called my agent. He thought I was crazy, but he wasn't going to shoot me down. He gets 15% of everything I do. So he got me in, and to read for Beast. I was so excited."

It all moved fast for Lackey. He was entering free agency, with plans of resigning with the Angels, but the numbers weren't there. He was hoping that he could sign for more so he could support his acting career and heroine addiction. The team and Lackey were at a standoff, until he went in to read for the X-Men.

"I'll never forget that day. I was walking into the studios, and everyone was staring at me. Granted, I was painted blue and had shaved my dog's hair and glued it on my face and arms, but still. I got into the offices, and the secretary sent me straight in. I walked in, and no one was looking at me. Then they read the name. The guy on the right, I don't know his name, said my name and then looked up. Then he started ... laughing. Then they all started. Do you know how it feels to be laughed at like that?"

Yes, I do. I'm hilarious. It happens all the time.

"It sucks"

He ran out of the studio, ripping off bits of the blue labradoodle fur from his skin. He called his representation right after, and told them that he was going to get as far away from Los Angeles as possible.

"The ride home was tough. It was a hot day, and blue spray paint doesn't mix too well with black leather seats. Also, I was sad."

The next day, Lackey and his wife got into a jet and flew to Boston to sign a 82.5 million dollar contract with the Red Sox. 

"It was hard the first few days. Trying to forget what happened in Los Angeles. But I got over it pretty quickly, and by the season, I was fine."

He went 14-11 with an ERA of 4.40 his first season as a red sock. 

"To be honest, the audition (if you can call it that) was still lingering over me. I wasn't on my A game. And this year, I started off slow. And then I saw the trailer for X-Men: First Class."

His ERA this year is 7.41.

"I can't take it. Seeing the new movie just makes me not want to take my steroids in the morning. I just get so complacent thinking that I could be fucking Jennifer Lawrence right now. JENNIFER LAWRENCE. Not this hag of a wife. That's off the record."

Then he went and saw the midnight showing for the movie. 


Since the movie, Lackey has had two starts. He gave up three and four runs respectively.

"I feel a lot better. Knowing that Beast was played pretty well was pretty reassuring to me. I think I can get back to recovering now. And then, hopefully tryout for Spiderman: Turn off the Dark."

Lackey got off the DL two weeks ago.