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Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Posted on: October 17, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 7:07 am

By Evan Brunell

One of the Red Sox players accused of drinking beer in the clubhouse has come out and admitted such.

"It was the wrong thing to do," Jon Lester told the Boston Globe, saying he was one of the players to drink beer in the clubhouse this season -- but never on a day he pitched, and far less often than has been suggested.

"It was a ninth-inning rally beer," he said, shades of A.J. Pierzynski's own explanation for drinking while on the job with the White Sox. "We probably ordered chicken from Popeye's like once a month. That happened. But that's not the reason we lost."

"Most of the times, it was one beer, a beer," Lester added. "It was like having a Coke in terms of how it affected you. I know how it looks to people and it probably looks bad. But we weren't up there just drinking and eating and nobody played video games. We watched the game."

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Lester says the reason the Red Sox lost was because "we just played bad baseball as a team in September. We stunk. To be honest, we were doing the same things all season when we had the best record in baseball."

However, by the same token, the lefty also admits that the occurrence was a bad habit and he should have been on the bench more. How can he say, then, that drinking beer and secluding himself in the clubhouse had no impact on the club's fortunes? It's a pretty vague statement to make, but isn't it possible the loss of solidarity and gelling of the team -- which outgoing manager Terry Francona cited as a problem -- contributed to September's downfall?

"Are there things I regret? Sure there are," he added. "But nothing happened that had me unprepared to pitch. I don't blame people for wanting answers because we had a hell of a team and we lost. You can't have a team that gets paid like we get paid and loses and not expect people to want answers."

Speaking of Francona, Lester admitted that it was time for a change.

"I love Tito and he did a great job for us when he was here. On a personal level I was more than grateful for what he did for me and my family," he said. "But there comes a time when your authority is no longer there. You kind of run your course. People who knew how Tito was and we pushed the envelope with it. We never had rules, we never had that iron-fist mentality. If you screwed up, he called you on it. That was how it worked.

"I never say guys [were] purposely breaking rules or doing the wrong thing in front of him and rubbing it in his face. But this particular team probably needed more structure."

Lester didn't feel comfortable speaking for the others accused in the fiasco, such as Josh Beckett and Jon Lackey and others, but felt he had to speak out in light of all the stories.

"We're not bad people and we're not a bad group of guys," he said.

Lester spoke at length with the Globe, also touching on the issue of player conditioning and the accusation that players allowed themselves to get out of shape.

"It's probably because of how we eat," he said of why pitchers gain weight as the season progresses. "We have some crazy hours with the travel and you get in at 4 a.m. and you get room service or something quick. But unless your body fat is going up 10 percent or something like that, you don't have a problem.

"I've heard what people are saying in Boston. I can tell you that guys were in the weight room. Guys were doing their shoulder [exercises] and guys were prepared to pitch. If we win a few more games in September and make the playoffs, none of this comes out. But we didn't and that's on us as a team and on me personally. I take a lot of the blame for this, a lot."

As part of the solution, Lester thinks high-character players are needed, citing Alex Cora, Eric Hinske and Sean Casey as previous influencers.

"We need that good veteran presence," he said. "If you have somebody like that, it makes everybody better. Everybody is accountable and we have plenty of people to look up to. That's not the problem. But we have a lot of guys who are kind of middle-aged in terms of their careers. Sometimes you need veteran guys who know their roles and can reach out to everybody."

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Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:28 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Red Sux fans are the worst of any. Getting on a guy like Youkilis who only hits .300+ every year, and drives in all kinds of runs. It's a perfect example of why everyone outside of New England hates the Red Sox and especially their so-called fans.

Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:26 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Who cares? Beer League softball players routinely go the batter's box with one in their hand, and half of the infield and outfield are chugging 'em while playing the field. Makes for more interesting viewing.

Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:19 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Have to blame the September collapse on something. It might as well be the "rally beer" and Popeye's fried chicken. There might be a commercial angle in it for Popeye's, maybe as well as for the beer company. Hope it was Samuel Adams...

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:06 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:56 pm
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Since: Mar 30, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:35 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Really good point, Brad.  I did look it up and agree.  Lester and Beckett combined for TWO wins during the month of September...that just won't get it done from your top two starters. 

All that matters is crunch time...even if the Red Sox had made the playoffs, does anyone really think they were in the right place mentally to get to the World Series?  Clearly not.

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:17 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

There's an unwritten rule among the baseball fraternity that "what happens in the clubhouse, stays in the clubhouse".  It will be interesting to see what backlash Lester gets from his own teammates for what goes on in the Red Sox clubhouse.  He could very well become an outcast amongst his own teammates.

That said, interesting that he admits Francona's authority "was no longer there".  The other unwritten rule is that the players police themselves.  That usually means there is a team leader, someone in the clubhouse who says "cut the crap" and the crap stops.  I thought that was Varitek.......apparently not.  So what is the "C" on his jersey for?  Sure would like to hear his take on this whole thing. 

Anybody else think that there will be more fallout from this over the Lester has almost put Beckett and Lackey in a position where they have to respond to the accusations as well. 

Stay turned for more As the RSN World Turns.....

Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:12 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

To everyone who wants to know why a big deal is being made out of this:

Because, all athletes are alowed to do what they want when they want .... AS LONG AS THEY WIN!

If the Red Sox go 102-60 and with the World Series, nobody cares who drank what when or where. But when you go 8-21 in September, miss the playoffs and have players drinking beer in the dugout during games, it becomes a big deal.

Welcome to the world of professional sports, everybody.    &

Since: Mar 10, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:08 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

@ Arinze

What you're saying would make sense if both Beckett and Lester didn't completely fall apart during the September slide.  Sure they were #1 and #2 in terms of numbers when you look at the season as a whole.  But when it mattered and when the Sox were spinning out of control, Beckett and Lester were playing just as horribly as everyone else.  Look it up.

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:04 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Sadly the true reason why the Sox failed to make the playoffs is that the bullpen was pitching like they were doing keg stands prior to coming out.  I think if anyone was not to would have been Lester or Beckett.  It's funny that the media tried to turn this into a story about 2 pitchers partying in the clubhouse but those guys who were "partying" we're #1 and #2 in terms of numbers.  Yeah, real story there.  These guys are drinking on there days off and pitching 5 hit ball and a QS just about every night they come out....showing signs of a major 1 beer hangover

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