Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester admitted to drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games, according to a recent interview.
Lester admitted to The Boston Globe that he occasionally drank beer in the clubhouse and that it wasn't the right thing to do, but it wasn't the reason that the Red Sox went 7-20 in September and missed the playoffs.
There's a perception out there that we were up there getting hammered and that wasn't the case, Lester told The Globe. 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 is the first pitcher involved in the beer drinking drama to publicly comment about the situation. An earlier Globe story detailed how Lester, John Lackey, and Josh Beckett would drink beers, eat chicken, and play video games during games when they didn't have to pitch.
Lester claims that the trio ordered chicken from Popeye's like once a month, but that they never played video games and only had about one beer as a ninth-inning rally beer. The pitcher said it was comparable to drinking a can of Coca-Cola in how it affected you mentally or physically.
The story also included allegations that former manager Terry Francona had a prescription pill problem and dominated headlines around the country. It was part of a full borne post-mortem look at how the Red Sox missed the playoffs after being up nine games heading into the month of September.
The Red Sox ownership ultimately declined Francona's two-year option and have yet to hire a new manager. Lester said he loved Francona, but that a change could be a good thing for the team.
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.
Outspoken former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling took issue with Lester's recent comments, especially that Francona's tenure had run its course.
That kind of boggles my mind that [Lester] said that, because at the end of the day, these are grown men, Schilling said on WEEI Radio's 'Mut and Merloni' Show. Do you need a manager to tell you? They all knew, and you always know, when you're doing something questionable or wrong.