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UPDATE (11:45 p.m.) – The Red Sox have denied the report that said Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester drank beer in the dugout during games. Beckett, Lackey, Lester and former manager Terry Francona all issued statements through the team.
“I cannot let this allegation go without response; enough is enough,” Beckett said in the statement. “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.”
(original story below)…
You thought you’ve heard it all about the Red Sox collapse, but things just got a lot more interesting. Two Sox employees told Channel 7’s Joe Amorosino that starters Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester drank beer in the dugout (not even the clubhouse) on their off days.
The employees said that the pitchers appeared “bored on nights they weren’t pitching and this is how they entertained themselves.” They would leave the dugout, head to the clubhouse, fill up some cups with Bud Light beer, and go back to the dugout with their brews.
“Beckett would come down the stairs from the dugout, walking through the corridor to the clubhouse and say ‘It’s about that time.’ 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,” one of the employees told Amorosino.
The pitchers apparently would leave the dugout as early as the sixth inning whether or not the team was losing to begin their routine, which became more frequent as the 2011 season wore on.
The Globe later confirmed the report through a team source.
In the last two days, Lester gave a series of interviews admitting he did indeed drink beer and eat fried chicken during games, but was adamant that it had nothing to do with the team’s struggles in September.
“You know what? We didn’t play good baseball. People are making us out to be a bunch of drunk, fried-chicken eating SOBs, playing video games. You can ask my wife, for the last 10 years I don’t think I’ve played a single video game, and Josh and Lack are the same way. But one person writes an article, and things have gotten blown way out of proportion, almost to another planet. We’re getting crushed,” Lester told ESPN’s Gordon Edes.
I’m glad to see that Lester owned up to his wrongdoings, well for the most part. He never actually admitted to dugout drinking, and CSNNE’s Mike Giardi reported after Lester’s initial interview with the Globe that a Sox source said the lefty wasn’t telling the whole truth. Then on Tuesday, we get Amorosino’s report, and now it all adds up.
Lester said players took advantage of Terry Francona, and that eventually, he lost the team.
“What I said this morning was that Tito didn’t rule the clubhouse with an iron fist. That was good at that particular time. Nobody had had a manager like that. This year, do I think people took advantage of that? I do. But was it the fact that we were in the clubhouse having a beer? No,” Lester said.
If it’s true that Lester, Lackey and Beckett drank beer in the dugout, it’s absolutely clear that Tito lost the team. Completely. How can any manager let that happen? What about the players that weren’t drinking? Why didn’t they do anything about it?
“Tek is not a vocal leader,” Lester said. “Josh is not a vocal leader. David is not a vocal leader. They lead by example and you’re supposed to follow. That’s great… But we did not have the vocal leaders that would step up and say, ‘You guys are screwing up,'” Lester said.
Lester later told Edes that “this was not a frat party.” Sure, players have been having “rally beers” since the dawn of baseball (see: Babe Ruth). But it’s also clear that it’s no normal, functional clubhouse when the team’s three highest paid pitchers are goofing off.
Again, I really feel that the team needs to do all it can to trade Lackey and maybe even Beckett to rid the team of its poisonous personalities. Oh, and maybe the next manager should try banning drinking beer during games.