October 19, 2011
Talk about some bad hops in Boston.
On Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox denied a local report by WHDH-TV that pitchers Josh Beckett(notes), John Lackey(notes) and Jon Lester(notes) drank beer in the home dugout at Fenway Park during games this season. The report comes about a week after a story in the Boston Globe said the same three pitchers drank beer in the clubhouse and ordered out for fried chicken during games when they weren't pitching.
The clubhouse, the dugout. What's next, while warming up in the bullpen? On the pitcher's mound in the top of the second inning? Homestands turning into keg stands?
[Related: Red Sox finger-pointing officially begins]
WHDH, citing claims of two unnamed (of course) Red Sox employees, said the dugout drinking happened on multiple occasions, regardless of the game's score, when Beckett, Lackey and Lester were not pitching. Check out this ... hastily written excerpt:
Beckett, Lester and Lackey would exit the dugout as early as the 6th inning, walk back to the clubhouse, and fill cups with Bud Light beer. They would then return to the dugout with cups of beer and drink while watching the game. [...]
One Red Sox employee described the routine like this: "Beckett would come down the stairs from the dugout, walking through the corridor to the clubhouse and say 'It's about that time'. Becket was the instigator but Lester and Lackey were right behind him. [...]"
A second Red Sox employee said Beckett, Lester and Lackey appeared "bored on nights they weren't pitching and this is how they entertained themselves."
Grown men, acting like beer zombies, with Beckett as the lead zombie. The players, along with former manager Terry Francona, issued flat denials via the team's website. Said Lester:
"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."
Team president Larry Lucchino said the team accepts the denials as truth, and went a step further, calling the WHDH report "a reckless, unsubstantiated accusation from 'anonymous sources' to mislead the public."
Right. Drinking in the clubhouse during the game — we're looking into what happened, and we're implying that we're sorry about whatever it was— but drinking in the dugout? Preposterous!
The players put themselves and the team in this position by their own behavior — which they've all admitted to. So there's no reason to have any sympathy for them. Lester has said there's no correlation between the bad behavior and Boston's epic swan dive in September, but even allowing for that dubious assertion misses the bigger point.
Imagine yourself sitting in the stands at Fenway, trying to get through one of Beckett's agonizing four-hour-long starts, or any appearance by Lackey, without downing at least one beer. Insanity would set in. But seriously, does it even have to be said that fans pay to watch the Red Sox, and the players are supposed to be working — even if they're not playing at the moment? And Bud Light?
All of this is on Beckett, Lackey and Lester. They need to quit crying in their beer and start acting like professionals again.
Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
• Slideshow: Cardinals, Rangers prepare for World Series
• World Series managers are each marvels in their own way
• Rhodes will get a World Series ring, win or lose