Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey drank beer in the Red Sox dugout during games, according to two Red Sox employees who witnessed the drinking on multiple occasions at Fenway Park.Peter Abraham says the Globe "has confirmed the report via a team source".
On nights when they were not pitching, 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. It didn't make a difference whether the Red Sox were winning or losing at the time and the practice became more frequent later in the 2011 season. One Red Sox employee said Beckett, Lester and Lackey appeared "bored on nights they weren't pitching and this is how they entertained themselves."
Another 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. It was blatant and hard not to notice what was going on with all three guys leaving at once."
The Red Sox released a statement at 11 PM with denials from all three players, and former manager Terry Francona.
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.Beckett:
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.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.Francona:
In 32 years of professional baseball, I have never seen someone drinking beer in the dugout.
Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
A Red Sox employee who was contacted by ESPNBoston.com on Tuesday evening to react to the latest story said he had heard complaints about players drinking in the dugout during the 2010 season but did not personally witness it either that season or in 2011. He added, however, that it would not come as a surprise to him if it were true.
Another Red Sox staffer who was in the dugout during every game said he never saw Beckett, Lackey or Lester drinking in the dugout, nor had he heard anything about that happening.
In an interview with the Globe's Peter Abraham, Jason Varitek said reports of a dysfunctional clubhouse were "grossly exaggerated".
I didn't agree with that [Francona's comments about not being able to reach players]. I believed that this team, regardless, pulled for each other and those things have been so grossly distorted. It's just baffling that you can feel that way. ...
That's Tito's personal opinion and based on what was going on with him personally and maybe how he related to the team. ... But I didn't see him change. We lost because we played poorly and we had some health issues and we probably taxed the bullpen too much. ... We didn't lose because of some issue in the clubhouse. That's a lot of crap.