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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jon Lester Admits to Drinking Beer in Clubhouse During Games

Slowly but surely, the Red Sox are coming forward and addressing the public.  It’s no surprise that it has taken so long.  When you are accused of the types of things the Sox have been accused of it’s probably a smart idea to plan your rebuttals carefully.  While John Henry showing up at the 98.5 The Sports Hub studio unannounced may have left him vulnerable and unprepared, it showed he wasn’t afraid to stand up for himself and the team.  On Monday, a member of the three beer-drinking, fried-chicken-eating trio came forward and addressed a few rumors.

In a disappointing turn (or lack of turn) of events, Jon Lester admitted to drinking beer in the Red Sox clubhouse during games.  Lester said it was “the wrong thing to do” but insisted he and his teammates — whom he did not mention by name — were not affected by the decision.

“Most of the times it was one beer, a beer,” he told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. “It was like having a Coke in terms of how it affected you mentally or physically. 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.”

“There’s a perception out there that we were up there getting hammered and that wasn’t the case. Was it a bad habit? Yes. I should have been on the bench more than I was. But 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.”

Lester said the perception that the beer drinking led to Boston’s collapse is completely unwarranted.  As someone who follows the Red Sox closely, I would expect those antics from Josh Beckett and John Lackey, but not Lester.  While I respect the left-hander for coming out and owning up to what he did, he said some things that are puzzling.  Take, for example, his take on Terry Francona’s managing style.

“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,” Lester said. “But there comes a time when your authority is no longer there. You kind of run your course. People 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 saw guys 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. Tito was the perfect guy for this team for a long time but I think he got burnt out.”

There are more quotes that Abraham got from Lester that are all worth reading, but what he said about Tito was particularly embarrassing.  In other words, grown men who get paid millions of dollars a year to remain committed to winning games need a babysitter.  Lester completely admitted that by saying Francona’s authority wore off and the team needed structure.  These aren’t Little Leaguers we’re talking about.  They’re adults, many of which have their own families and children at home.

Give Lester credit for manning up ad addressing the story, but his comments further prove how uncommitted the 2011 Boston Red Sox became over the course of the season.



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