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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: May 16, 2009
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:07 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Is a big deal really being made out of this? My God, some people have really boring lives.

Since: Oct 11, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:03 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Sports players can kinda be out of touch it seems.  I love the Redsox but cmon're drinking on the job.  I don't care what you do with your free time but at work it's not a very ethical thing to do, even if it is only one beer. I love to drink as much as the anyone else who enjoys it but cmon....really?  Also you are all grown men.......why do you need a leader to step forward and tell you to quit drinking during the games?  If I had his ear my suggestion would be to step up and take charge yourself.  You are one of the teams aces and as such other players will follow your example.  But...perhaps it's just me who is out of touch lol.  Afterall, Im no ball player. 

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:02 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

How old are you, Jon?  Do you really need a "veteran presence" of "high-character players" to influence you to behave like a responsible working adult?  I can assume that had one or two been present and had he slammed you into a locker a few times to get your attention or got in your grill to call you out on your misbehavior that you'd have taken that as the learning experience it was, held no grudges, pursued no legal action, etc.? 

I thought tens of millions of dollars would be enough to inspire you to come to work, stay at work, support your workmates.  Would another twenty or thirty million do the trick for you?

Look, I appreciate your addressing this at least while your intestinally-challenged co-workers blink away in abject apathy, and I can actually appreciate your acknowledgement that you had acquired some pretty bad habits.  What is hard to take, though, is a statement like having a beer is "like having a Coke."  Really, Jon?  Is that what ten-, tweive-, fifteen-year old kids need to hear?  Chemically you're way off base, psychopharmaceutically you're well adrift from reality, and medically you're just short of imbelicilty.  If there is no difference, then drink a Coke next time!  Save the beer for when you've really earned it!

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:25 pm
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Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:09 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

John Lackey pitched like he was drunk. His ERA is well-over the legal limit.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:47 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

The Cubs fan may be used to letting boys be boys, because thats the way things have been run in the Cubs organization for years now. Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella had a very loose grip on the Clubhouse and let the guys police themselves - which they did, with the results of a couple of quick sweeps out of the post-season over the past ten years. Now, Theo Epstein, who was the GM responsible for the Red Sox, comes to Wrigley. Wonder if the Cubs will be getting more of the same, or if Epstein will learn from the BoSox mistakes and apply them to the Cubs? If he doesn't bring in more of a disciplinarian attitude to the Cubs organization, then I am afraid it will be more of the same for Cubs fans.

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:31 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Hafdolla23........spoken like a true Cubs
That's exactly what I was thinking, hahahah!

I remember when this story first broke, I was very disappointed, mostly with Lester. Lackey and Beckett come off to me as typical dumb jocks, but Lester always seemed more dignified. I guess I was wrong. And his comments here really make you wonder if he realizes how fortunate he is to be a professional athlete.

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:07 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

I think the Sawks have more veterans on their team than most teams.  Why is no one calling out vets like Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, and J.D. Drew? 
Two of these guys are Scott Boras clients, so they have questionable morals, maybe all three are Boras clients.  Maybe that is the problem.  Agents tell these guys that the teams can't survive without them.  Agents tell them they can do whatever they want.  Less Boras whiners on your team is what the Sox should aspire to.

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:03 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

You're right Rabid Monkey, they are grown men, which means they should know how to behave by now.  Also, whuile the Babe may have made the same mistakes, he also was able to go out and dominate at the same time. Players can get away with being stupid when they win. And don't forget, Ruth's career came crashing down probably a lot earlier than it would have if he wouldn't have been so hard on his body.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:01 pm

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Lester has it all wrong.  Using his logic the starting pitchers don't even need to show up at the ball park on the days they aren't pitching.  They can watch a tape of the opposing batters or just stay home eating Popeye's and drinking beer.  This goes to prove the assumption that "baseball players are dumb."  Are they the simplest, least educated of all pro athletes?  If Lester thinks their habits, and I don't mean the beer and chicken, didn't affect the team chemistry then he is dillusional,

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