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Tag:beer drinking
Posted on: February 19, 2012 1:48 pm
 

Polar opposites Beckett, Lester talk collapse



By Matt Snyder


After a historic collapse in September, blowing a huge wild-card lead to the Rays, the Red Sox offseason got off a turbulent start for several reasons, chief among them a revelation that starting pitchers were drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games in the clubhouse during games. So when pitchers and catchers reported to camp this weekend, obviously the subject came up.

With All-Star pitchers Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, there were two different approaches.

Lester came full of accountability and apology.

“We stunk. I stunk. Tampa Bay was better,” Lester said (BostonHerald.com). “I take complete responsibility for it.”

Beckett, on the other hand, gave what the Boston Herald termed "the bare minimum," while also going a bit on the offensive.

“I’m upset with myself for the lapses of judgment, but there’s also some ill feelings toward some people," he said (BostonHerald.com), with "people" obviously being the clubhouse leak that exposed the locker-room activities.

“I’m not saying we didn’t make mistakes, because we did make mistakes in the clubhouse. But the biggest mistake we made was — the biggest mistake I made — was not pitching well against Baltimore. I was prepared to pitch every time I went out there. I just didn’t execute pitches when I needed to.” (BostonHerald.com)

The Herald also called Beckett "defiant" in the face of the questioning while saying Lester was "contrite."

While it's easy to see that anyone would be annoyed for being outed like that, Beckett's outward frustration shows that he isn't fully accountable for the clubhouse actions. He's only sorry he got caught. It's like blaming the police officer for getting a speeding ticket -- Yeah, I shouldn't have been speeding, but I'm mad at the cop for pulling me over. But the cop wasn't the one speeding, just as the clubhouse leak wasn't the one in the wrong in September. If Beckett was truly accountable, he would be acting like Lester, the true staff ace of the Red Sox.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Ex-Sox strength coach: Four players out of shape

PageBy Evan Brunell

On Friday, the Red Sox fired strength and conditioning coach Dave Page, who had been with the team since 2006, along with assistant athletic trainer Greg Barajas.

The move came as such a shock that Page, in an interview on WEEI, estimated "90 percent" of the team's roster -- plus others in the game -- reached out to him, with one such player saying "I feel this is all my fault."

Is this the same player that gave up on the season in September with no explanation? Page said there were four Red Sox players that were lax in their conditioning by the time the end of the season rolled around. He refused to name names, but did say that none of the players included Josh Beckett. Beckett, who noticeably put pounds on as the year progressed,  expressed concern to Page about his weight.

"We got to the end of the year where we had four guys -- without naming names -- we had four guys that we thought didn't make it to that part of the season where we hoped they would be: one position player -- an everyday guy -- one pitcher -- a starting pitcher -- and two bullpen guys," Page said. "For the most part, everybody else had stayed within where we wanted them to be. They were what we expected. Most of them were working."

Except for these four players, of course. And one in particular couldn't explain why he tailed off.

"I did have a good conversation with one player at the end of the year in Baltimore that really kind of opened my eyes," Page said. "I said, 'Hey, what's going on here? It seemed like you pulled the plug a little bit. Why?' He kind of looked down at the ground, looked back and me and said, 'I don't know why. I can't answer that question.' Which was kind of a shock."

Page, who earned the 2007 Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year award, named Daniel Bard, Rich Hill, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Varitek and Kevin Youkilis among those who reached out, according to the Boston Globe.

“Papelbon and Youkilis were less than pleased. I can tell you that,” he said.

On WEEI, Page admitted to being taken aback about his firing, especially since it's been over a month since the end of the season. That fact, despite the departures of manager Terry Francona and GM Theo Epstein, led Page to "believe that things weren't going to change, and it really kind of limited my opportunities to move on with another team. It was very surprising."

Page also admitted that support from coaches and the front office were "better in the past," saying he approached coaches and front office personnel on a regular basis to express concerns. He also turned in weekly reports to Francona and the higher-ups, so they were aware of any failings in player conditioning. Page's comments marries up with skipper Terry Francona saying he felt as if the front office wasn't supporting him as much as it had in years past. That leads one to ask why. Perhaps the front office thought this was a team that wasn't going to last and needed wholesale changes. As a result, they weren't as supportive as in the past. That's all speculation, however.

Page also chimed in on the whole fried chicken and beer controversy.

"There was a lot of grumblings but I think that whole chicken-and-beer thing has gotten a lot of unnecessary play, to be honest with you," he said. "I really didn't see chicken in the clubhouse all that often. I'm in and out of there a lot. I rarely saw the chicken. If they were drinking beer it was probably upstairs and I wasn't up there. You'll see the starting pitcher drink a beer when he comes out of the game, that's pretty common. In my opinion, it wasn't as rampant as it's gotten to be made out to be."

Read more about the beer drinking controversy, or check out Eye on Baseball's coverage on Theo Epstein bolting to the Cubs.

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Image courtesy BaseTrainer.com.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Torre: Up to teams to police beer

TorreBy Evan Brunell

Joe Torre, the executive vice president of baseball operations for MLB, joined ESPN Radio on Tuesday to touch on a wide range of topics, including beer in the clubhouse. Torre previously said baseball was looking into the extent of drinking beer in the Red Sox clubhouse and was considering a ban across baseball.

"I know is it’s an individual choice for the ball clubs," Torre said about allowing beer in the clubhouse. "We’re interested in [banning beer]. I probably should have stopped there. It’s basically individual clubs make those decisions, and it’s obvious when you have owners meetings, you certainly let your feelings be heard. But I’m sort of torn because it’s like anything else -- you’d like to have it available if people responded to it and did it in moderation. But you can’t always guarantee that, and then you’re responsible if something goes wrong. It’s even a matter of getting in your car and driving somewhere; that’s the scary part for me. But ... it is up to the individual club to police what they do and make the decisions about how they approach the beer in and beer out.”

Torre was also asked if baseball allows beer because of how long the season is and how the team needs to have an outlet to disengage after playing a game nearly every day.

“Baseball is a game of life," he said. "You eliminate the highs and lows. I think Michael [Kay, Yankees broadcaster] can tell you, he’s traveled with the club for years, you see the players and you see the people who travel more than you see your family. It’s one of those things that in other sports…maybe in the NFL they put players in hotels, they do something because it’s right before the game. This is more…I don’t want to say matter of fact, but the fact of the matter is you’ve got to do this like showing up to the office every day. So I think that’s probably what makes it different as opposed to telling guys they can’t drink beer for seven months, you know?”

Drink along with us and check out the beer-drinking saga.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 7:24 pm
 

MLB to investigate Red Sox, possibly ban beer

TorreBy Evan Brunell

Major League Baseball plans to investigate the drinking that went on in the Red Sox clubhouse, and could use that as an impetus to ban alcohol throughout the game, the Boston Globe reports.

“It’s something we’re concerned about, just to make sure that we get all the facts and that’s my area,” MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Torre said. “I know I have plans just to talk to some people.”

It's unclear what the investigation would be, but it may simply have to do with checking into the situation to make sure that not only has all the information been divulged, but that it won't happen again. Given Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz both admitted to drinking beer in the clubhouse during games in which the starters didn't pitch and admitted to mistakes along with fellow starters Josh Beckett and John Lackey, that will probably be enough to satisfy Torre, especially with Boston president Larry Lucchino standing behind his starters.

Currently, the Red Sox are just one of 12 teams that allow alcohol in the clubhouse. Baseball doesn't regulate alcohol in the clubhouse, but with the latest revelations in Boston, that could change.

“If we do happen to bar alcohol from the clubhouses, you have to understand the intent of this thing and what it looks like,” Torre said. “We’re up there and we’re role models, or we should be role models for the youngsters and how they behave.

"Guys understand that if they want to do something, they’re going to do something. They’re grown-ups. It’s something where we implement rules that we feel would be best for the game and who we’re being watched by. We’ve got to look at it."

Here's the only problem with this. Why is the news of Red Sox starting pitchers drinking beer on their off-days so horrible as to merit a possible leaguewide ban... and yet DUIs are going unpunished? Through early May, there had been six DUIs by players and none missed a game for illegally drinking and driving.

The idea of investigating alcohol in the clubhouse and whether or not to ban it makes sense. The reason for it does not.

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Buchholz speaks on Red Sox controversy

BuchholzBy Evan Brunell

Clay Buchholz appeared on WEEI on Thursday, speaking about the controversy that has followed the Red Sox since their September collapse left them out of the postseason.

Buchholz adamantly denied seeing beer in the dugout as Rob Bradford of WEEI tweets, but did seem to admit to drinking beer in the clubhouse, as Jon Lester has also admitted to. "It was maybe a bad decision on our part [to drink], but you've got to live with what you've done," he said on the radio according to the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber.

"The big problem with this team this year was that everybody on the team knew how good we were on paper," the Herald relayed Buchholz saying. He spoke about how pitchers hung out together in the clubhouse, and that was a good thing. He admitted to being "baffled" as to the reports of the schism in the Sox clubhouse, specifically defending fellow starter Josh Beckett, who has come under fire as of late. On WEEI, Buchholz says it is hard for him to grasp the criticism of Beckett.

"If anything, I would think Josh Beckett was different in a good way this year," he said, as the Herald writes.

Buchholz also added that pitching coach Curt Young and former coach John Farrell, now managing in Toronto, had "two different personalities." It seems as if Young was more genial as a coach and less restrictive, following in manager Terry Francona's footsteps. Meanwhile, Farrell was more strict with the pitchers.

Can't get enough booze? Read more about the beer-drinking controversy.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Red Sox pitchers, Francona speak on beer-drinking

By Evan Brunell

The Red Sox have issued a statement, attempting to put the beer-drinking controversy to bed. The team is specifically refuting a claim that there was drinking in the dugout that was released Tuesday morning. Terry Francona is part of the statement, asking the team to release one for him, along with pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, and president Larry Lucchino. The statement reads:
LesterJON LESTER (pictured, right): “The accusation that we were drinking in the dugout during games is completely false.  Anonymous sources are continuing to provide exaggerated and, in this case, inaccurate information to the media.  
 
BeckettJOSH BECKETT (pictured, left): “I cannot let this allegation go without response; enough is enough.  I admit that I made mistakes along the way this season, but this has gone too far.  To say that we drank in the dugout during the game is not true.”
 
JOHN LACKEY: “There are things that went on this season that shouldn’t have happened, but this latest rumor is not true, and I felt that it was important to try to stop this from going any further.”
 
TERRY FRANCONA: “In 32 years of professional baseball, I have never seen someone drinking beer in the dugout.”
 
PRESIDENT/CEO LARRY LUCCHINO ON BEHALF OF THE BOSTON RED SOX: “Tonight our organization has heard directly from Jon, Josh, John, and former manager Terry Francona.  Each has assured us that the allegation that surfaced today about drinking in the dugout during games in 2011 is false, and we accept their statements as honest and factual.
 
“As we continue our internal examination to fully understand what went wrong in September, 2011, we appreciate these strong and clear statements from our players.
 
“It is time to look forward and move forward, rather than allow a reckless, unsubstantiated accusation from ‘anonymous sources’ to mislead the public.”
This should effectively confirm that all these Red Sox pitchers did, in fact, drink beer during games in which they did not pitch. Lester had previously admitted to drinking beer during games.

Can't get enough booze? Read more about the beer-drinking controversy.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:02 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 8:54 pm
 

Report: Red Sox pitchers drank beer in dugout



By Evan Brunell


A report from WHDH-7 TV's Joe Amorosino in Boston has Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester drinking beer during games. That's nothing that hasn't been reported yet, except this report has the beer-drinking occurring in the dugout.

During games in which the three were not pitching, the trio would go to the clubhouse as early as the sixth inning and fill cups with Bud Light beer and drink it on the dugout as games ended.

“Beckett would come down the stairs from the dugout, walking through the corridor to the clubhouse and say ‘it’s about that time’," an employee of the team said. "Beckett was the instigator but Lester and Lackey were right behind him. It was blatant and hard not to notice what was going on with all three guys leaving at once.”

Whether the team was winning or losing was irrelevant to the beer-drinking, and increased as 2011 wore on. Another employee said it was a cause of boredom on the nights all three weren't pitching and "is how they entertained themselves.”

It's difficult to tell whether or not this report is true. If so, it would point to reports that the three were essentially a clique and couldn't be bothered to care about other players on the team on days one of the three wasn't pitching. This much is true: whatever happened, it wasn't acceptable. What if one of them had to be pressed into duty in extra-innings, for example? What about supporting your team and being invested in the game?

Update: Jon Lester, who admitted to drinking beer in the clubhouse, called the reports of drinking in the dugout "completely false," according to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes.

Read more about the Red Sox's saga with drinking beer during games.

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

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Lester

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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com