The hits just keep coming for the 2011 Red Sox. Starting pitchers John Lackey, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester all drank beer and ate fried chicken on their off-days this season, according to a report from the Boston Globe.
With their team in peril and their manager losing his authority, three Red Sox pitchers last month were uniquely positioned to prevent the greatest September collapse in major league history. All the Sox needed was Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey to apply the skills and commitment that previously made them World Series champions.
Boston’s three elite starters went soft, their pitching as anemic as their work ethic. The indifference of Beckett, Lester, and Lackey in a time of crisis can be seen in what team sources say became their habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games while their teammates tried to salvage a once-promising season.
And while I can’t attest for the latter two, I personally saw Lackey downing a cold one in the clubhouse after a Red Sox-Royals game on July 28. For those who remember it was the game Carl Crawford almost hit a game-winning home run into the right-field stands, but the ball died just short of the stands and Jeff Francoeur made the catch. I was there covering the game as an intern for WEEI.com.
Waiting around in the clubhouse for postgame interviews, I saw Lackey walk out of the off-limits section of the clubhouse, behind the refrigerator with a beer. I’m pretty sure it was a Miller Lite, but he walked across the clubhouse, passing the media members, put the beer down on top of a fire alarm box (one of the ones you have to life and pull) and walked into another room which I assumed to be the bathroom. After coming back out, he downed the beer in a couple gulps and proceeded back across the clubhouse.
Other members of the media didn’t give it a second glance. It appeared to be at the very least somewhat of a regular occurrence. Neither Lester or Beckett were drinking beer, but Josh did start that day, throwing seven innings of four-run ball.
I’m not saying whether or not I agree with manager Terry Francona’s decision to allow his pitchers to drink beer, but the above is the truth. That is what I saw.