Blog Entry

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: Jan 21, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:00 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Hmmm..We may have a new MLB test next year..The DUP...Drinking While Pitching...

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:00 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

PS, are in one word.....DUMB.  No one is making thug comments about Jon Lester because he's not portraying himself as one.  He doesn't have tattoos covering his entire body, isn't walking around with his hat to the side, isn't carrying a concealed weapon.  He's not choking a coach or running into the bleachers to punch a fan.  He's not talking about how his daddy ran away from him when he was 5 and that's why he doesn't hold himself responsible for anything he does, he HAS an education.  He doesn't run a pre season show about his "decision".  He isn't assaulting strippers(Sam Cassell and Gary Payton), he's not assaulting officers of the law, he's not doing drugs.  Jon Lester isn't throwing sissy punches at someone(Carmelo), he's not travelling in an airport with weed(Melo) or smoking it.  He's not on a team known as the Portland JAILblazers, he's not spitting on fans(Barkley).  Jon Lester isn't raping his kids babysitter(Ruben Patterson), not charged with domestic abuse or assault(once again Patterson), he's not Shawn Kemp.  Bottom line is, the NBA is where your thugs are.  For every story about a MLB player there are about 5 to 10 NBA stories.  Keep in mind there are over 700 guys playing in the MLB, not including late call ups, while under 400 NBA players.  You do the math.  He ate some chicken, had a rally beer and was rumored to play video one is calling him a thug because none of those acts are thug related you baffoon

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:57 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Props to Lester ... class act.  It's not surprising that the whole thing was completely blown out of proportion by the media, as usual.  Lester was dead on right about needing a change at mgmt. too.   Francoma had run his course .. kinda like Torre had run his course in NY after winning several championships.   Flunkona is a players manager that did well with a veteran team that didn't need leadership.   Now the team's makeup has changed, and Tito had lost complete control .. not to mention he never had a clue about in game strategy.   It's time to turn the page .. get MUCH YOUNGER and move on.  This is yesterday's news now ... when does spring training start!

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:49 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Shows class at least coming out and taking responsibility.  I expect no less from Jon Lester.  I was surprised to hear him in the mix because he seems like a good guy.  That being said, seems like just another story where the media finds a story and runs with it, blowing it out of proportion.  For all the things that has changed in our society, perhaps one thing that hasn't that needs to is holding the media more reliable for faulty reporting.  Often times it seems the media takes something and twists it the way it wants to.  Time we hold them accountable for this and punish them, maybe we'd finally get some truthful articles to read about.

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:46 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Where's all the thug comments that accompany every article that has to do with an athlete of color? If a group of black NBA or NFL players were on the sidelines or in the dressing room drinking beer, eating fried chicken...we would have people calling them useless, thugs, criminals... I would have to say this Boston Red Sox is just a bunch of useless thugs. Guys drink during games and ditch there wives during cancer treatments, get paid 15-20 million to underperform and to catch a buzz on game days, then Epstein & Francona get labeled as the scape goats, and you even have the owners now coming out saying they didn't approve of the Crawford signing, then why was it finalized? Your the owners, you sign the damn checks!!!

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:38 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Well that clears Saint Jon Lester....what an upfront, honest, die for his team ace.  Nice try with the "crazy schedule" take.  As laughable is his high moral character guys like Cora, Hinske and Sean Casey. Uh Jon those are called journeymen, bench jockies, hanger ons. Yes they are great for the media to go to first and get the scoop from, but for those of us old enough we know they party it up like rock stars & are experienced enough to not leak it to the media nerds who will bury them.  What is Veritek??? Was he not a leader?  So funny...I hope tomorrows installment is Josh Beckett was on pain killers.    

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:36 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

I HATE THE REDSOX, so PLEASE do not take this as defense of John Lester or anyone on the team.  However, drinking beer during games is not new.  Satchell Paige - the Negro Leaguer who had to wait more than 25 years to get his shot in the majors - used to take beer with him to the bullpen when he was in Cleveland (where he was a member of the World Series championship team) way back in the early 50's. 

(This sounds too much like an excuse for Lester).

The Red Sox just choked - whether it was because of the beer or too many baked beans or because they could not figure out where they paahked their caahs after the game.  (now I feel better.  a random, pointless stab at the Sawx always makes me feel like the native New Yorker I am).

At any rate, real talk, it may have had some effect negative effect on the Red Sox down the stretch - maybe they could not get back the proper professional demeaner they needed.  Then again, Lester says they did that all year, so their early season success may have been aided by their ability to relax with a cold one off days.  If beer was the problem early, then it had to be the elixer early - no?

Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:21 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

When a person admits that they drink just ONE BEER... you know thats an exaggeration.  Okay guys...let's drink our ONE beer for our rally. The proof is in what Lester said in his next sentence about it being just like drinking a Coke. If you feel it is so insignificant about drinking at the workplace, then it's happening ALOT more frequently than you are telling us Jon, and with more quantity.  

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:15 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

My GOD! A bunch grown men (that play a game for a living) having a beer. I am sure there are things that go on in bullpens that would make a Thai Hooker blush. Was is the big deal?

Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:15 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Matt Snyder just wrote this a FEW DAYS ago.  It shows how journalism is getting ridiculous.

"The latest is that Red Sox ace may have been unfairly lumped in with and .

that he's heard from "a trusted team source" that Lester should not be included with Lackey and Beckett (and occasionally , according to the original report) on the alleged beer, chicken and video game activity during games.

It's certainly enough for me to give Lester the benefit of the doubt, for now. "

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