(pictures of Gordon Beckham are a dime a dozen, so let’s go with an old photo of thespian powerhouse John Getz, above, left, instead)

Eagle-eyed fans in the upper deck (!) of U.S. Cellular Field spotted White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham scrawling “GETZ IS GAY!” in the infield dirt Monday, a gag message intended for longtime pal andformer teammate Chris Getz, second baseman for the visiting Royals.  Upon being informed of Beckham’s unique brand of correspondence, GM Kenny Williams tells the Sun-Times’ Rick Telander, “the organization didn’t do it…he did it. (Beckham) should apologize for making us less than what we stand for.” Upon being taken to task, Beckham is quick to plead no contest.

“Wow,’’ said Beckham, looking as if he had seen a thousand ghosts and Bob Gibson on the mound. “Chris is one of my best friends. It was a joke. I didn’t know anybody could see. I didn’t mean anything, you know?’’

“I just want you to know that that’s not me,’’ he said. “I don’t use slurs. I have a lot of gay friends. I didn’t mean it as anything — you know, like gay as in .?.?. happy! Or, you know, an alliteration — ‘Getz is gay.’?’’

“It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like that with Chris,’’ he said. “And I didn’t even see his reaction. I asked him afterward if he was going to write anything back, and he said no. It was wrong. It was stupid. If I offended anyone, I apologize. I wish I could take it back, but I can’t.’’

You can almost see the gears in Beckham’s mind turning, pondering the odd, frightening implications of doing something thoughtlessly, impishly in public.

“I won’t do that again,’’ he said, almost to himself, hoping, of course, that the dirt has been wiped clean.