GLENDALE, Ariz. - Gordon Beckham's tough-love offseason talk with his father set him straight. The message was straightforward: Stop being somebody else and get back to being the Gordon I know.
"We talked it out, and [when I asked] 'What do you see?' he said what he saw was not me,'' Beckham said. "You can either act like the guy you've been acting like and roll over and die or be the guy you were and let it loose. It's hard to hear when your dad says he didn't recognize who you were. But it's what I needed to hear. I knew I needed to change. I changed.''
Beckham needs to get back to being the player he was as a rookie in 2009 when he batted .270 with 14 homers and 63 RBI.
"We're still waiting for him to take his game to the next level,'' general manager Ken Williams said.
The expectations from fans and media that accompany that past production can't be an issue for him, he said.
"It's not important,'' Beckham said.
Last season, Beckham batted .230. He had 147 more plate appearances than 2009 but hit 10 home runs and drove in 44 runs. He batted at the bottom of the order.
"I'm not worried about last year,'' Beckham said. "Everybody thinks I'm really worried about or want to think that. I had a bad year. It wasn't me. It's not who I am as a person and baseball player. I have to remind myself that's not who I want to be. I've rededicated myself to being me. I got back to doing that. It's nice to be back to where I've been.''
"Baseball wise, getting back to how I used to play. Just competing and loving to compete and playing with courage out there and not giving an inch. Off the field just being me.''
Beckham's confidence was gone last season. It's an absolute necessity for any athlete at any level. It was there on the field - he played outstanding defense at second base - but not when he walked up to the plate.
"Yeah I lost a little bit,'' he said. "That was the main thing I had to figure out. Back to being me. Me is not a tentative person. That's not how I roll.''
Much has been made of Beckham's swing. On Saturday, he talked about needing to be in a better "load" position, but on Sunday he stressed that hitting, for him, is more mental than mechanical.
"It's not my swing,'' he said. "More my approach and who I was being on the field. It's not my swing. My swing is fine. I've tweaked some stuff. But it's more about the guy who is swinging the bat.''