“For all the uproar over Josh Beckett’s ill-timed golf outing,” writes Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, “Josh Hamilton’s headfirst slide on a wet tarp in Baltimore last week was probably the more reckless act.”  Yes, but Beckett’s golf game didn’t bring back memories of Rick Dempsey (and Hamilton’s tarp-slide didn’t come on the heels of being unable to make a scheduled start).

Hamilton had gone 5-for-5 with four homers the previous night for the red-hot Rangers, while Beckett — coming off his role in the fried-chicken-and-beer episode last September — was struggling for the disappointing Red Sox.

There also is this:

Hamilton plays in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market, where fans and media are far more forgiving than they are in Boston — relentlessly intense, occasionally over-the-top Boston.

I’m not defending Beckett, whose act is beyond tired. He knows the landscape in Boston, yet he chose to stay with the Sox, signing a four-year, $68 million extension in April 2010.

Still, name another city where Beckett would have been flagged by media for playing golf on an off-day while dealing with tightness in his lat muscle. Frankly, I’m not even sure it would have happened in New York.

I don’t honestly believe Rosenthal is indirectly campaigning for the Yankees or the (broke-ass) Mets to sign Hamilton this offseason, but there’s no way an afternoon of golf, jell0 shots or worse goes unreported, especially if the outfielder isn’t getting it done on the field.