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Report: Red Sox pitchers drank beer during games on their off days

Sep 30, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

red sox mugs

John Tomase of the Boston Herald has some details on how the Red Sox’s clubhouse atmosphere deteriorated this season, including a report that “more than one pitcher drank beer in the clubhouse during games on the days he didn’t pitch.”

Because relievers don’t really have off days that suggests “pitchers” are really “starting pitchers” and that narrows down the list of candidates considerably.

A total of 10 pitchers started for the Red Sox this season, but only Jon Lester (31), Josh Beckett (30), John Lackey (28), and Tim Wakefield (23) started at least 20 times. Other starters were Clay Buchholz (14), Andrew Miller (12), Erik Bedard (8), Daisuke Matsuzaka (7), Kyle Weiland (5), and Alfredo Aceves (4).

Of course, whether or not drinking beer in the clubhouse between starts is big news is debatable–Thomase notes that the Red Sox famously sipped Jack Daniels together before ALCS games in 2004–but either way it’s certainly not something the Red Sox would want made public amid Terry Francona’s departure and talk of various players not being in good shape and wearing down late in the season.

  1. sandpiperair - Sep 30, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    The problem is not necessarily the drinking itself. The drinking is being associated with Francona’s departure. He’s apparently trying to leave Boston, and cites the clubhouse culture as a reason. Since he’s supposed to be in charge, then surely he must have addressed this with them, and it must have continued anyway (otherwise, how is it even a problem?). If this is the case, then hasn’t he lost the team? Isn’t that when it’s time for a new manager?

    • wendell7 - Sep 30, 2011 at 5:21 PM

      who cares? Is it headline “news” that I drink beer on my days off too?

      • bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        Don’t read too far into the way ‘off day’ is being used. In baseball, you don’t have an “off day” unless there is no scheduled game that day.

    • bballmaven - Oct 3, 2011 at 4:08 PM

      The real problem here is Theo Epstein, not Francona. Epstein was hired to be a new era value GM when the Sox couldn’t get Billy Bean to sign. Theo left the value boat when he paid $100 million for Dice-K. He then walked further into the overpaid player jungle when he signed Lackey and Crawford. The disparity between the overpaid players (if they are even playing!) and the guys who are playing hard for every dollar caused the clubhouse fracture as much as anything. It is going to take years to recover from this, but the Sox should start by firing Theo. Maybe Billy Bean is ready to sign now! Or how about Peter Brand if we must have a Yale grad in the fron office?

      • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        The reports over the last several days are that John Henry still loves Theo and would rather he doesn’t leave. While the public views every signing as Theo’s – reading between the lines over the years suggests that ownership has pushed for certain players – which would obviously take Theo off the hook for some of the signings that we may perceive as being his call.

        One of those rumored ownership signings is Carl Crawford – which I am another season away before I cast a judgement. It has been alleged (based on rumor) that Theo made Adrian Gonzalez his off-season priority and ownership – sick of seeing Crawford make big plays in the field and on the base paths against the Sox – tasked Theo with signing him to make a splash.

        NO ONE was criticizing the Dice K signing at the time. Nor was there any criticism when he went 33-15 over his first two seasons. The fact is, it was well publicized that ownership was gung-ho on outbidding the Yankees and every other team – as a sort of masculine display of financial might.

        As for Lackey – that’s the one move that I will never understand. Ever. OK, maybe the impassioned drive to sign Lugo is one that I’ll never get either. But most every other now criticized move I can either understand why it was done at the time, or defend it.

  2. d201011 - Sep 30, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    How many pitchers were in the bull pen?

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Sep 30, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    I really feel like a lot more news is going to come out (and by news, I’m speaking quite vaguely) regarding the fall of the Great 2011 Red Sox. This could be one odd offseason.

  4. jimeejohnson - Sep 30, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    The beer drinking is consistent with the lack of real heart, grit, and determination of these Red Sox. The Sox of 5 years ago would have won a lot more games in September by sheer will. It’s attitude, and the Red Sox need it, big time. This was by far the biggest CHOKE in the baseball history, as the 1986 choke was fast (yet hurt like hell) . By the way: I’m no Yankee fan hater, but if you are going to buy championships, you need your guys to want it as much as they want the big bucks. Boston general manager Theo Epstein underestimated what goes into the heart of a champion when he signed Dice-K, Crawford, and especially Lackey. Boston pitching stunk this season, and it was fitting that Papelbon, perhaps the Red Sox best pitcher this season, blew the save that sent the Red Sox home for good.

    • jimeejohnson - Sep 30, 2011 at 3:26 PM

      Whoops: I meant I’m no Yankee hater, and there’s no fans I hate! I dislike gang banger Dodger fans.

    • seattlej - Sep 30, 2011 at 4:17 PM

      Did you happen to notice what happened with the NL wildcard over the past couple weeks? Calling Boston’s collapse by far the biggest choke in baseball history is blowing things out of proportion ever so slightly. Was it terrible? Yeah. Was it a delight to watch? Hell yeah! But, I’m sure there have been others.

      • gostlcards5 - Sep 30, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        Actually, there were at least two that were close:
        – (obviously) 2011 Braves – 8 1/2 games up with 23 days remaining
        – 1964 Phillies – up 6 1/2 games with 12 to play (lost 10 straight)

        I think you have to include the 2009 Tigers here, too. Led their division almost the whole season, up 3 with 4 games to play, lost one to Minnesota and 2 of 3 to the Royals (while the Twins swept their final series), then lost the one-game playoff. That one had to hurt….

  5. henryd3rd - Sep 30, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Make mine a Sam Adams please!

  6. deathmonkey41 - Sep 30, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    Well, looking at the starting pitcher’s ERA’s, they certainly weren’t drinking Big Papi’s Dominican Milkshakes!

  7. td40 - Sep 30, 2011 at 6:29 PM


  8. TheWizard - Sep 30, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Tomase had some breaking news about the Patriots on the eve of a Super Bowl as well.

    He is not credible IMO

    • bigleagues - Oct 1, 2011 at 10:11 AM

      Well he was completely credible in regard to this story, which has not only been confirmed but expanded upon by Gordon Edes:

      Starting pitchers drinking in the clubhouse during games on days when they weren’t pitching, which can leave one boozily indifferent to the plight of teammates after they’ve just lost in extra innings? Originally reported in the Boston Herald, it was not only confirmed here, but with the added twist that it has been going on the past two seasons.

      “Josh has some real leadership qualities, but this time he didn’t lead left, he didn’t lead right, he led wrong,” one uniformed member of the team said.

      And for those that think this is a non-story:

      Lucchino said after Friday’s news conference that he had a “quite low” level of awareness “until very recently” that this had been going on. His reaction when he did find out? “Surprise,” he said.

      And? “Yeah, there were some other emotions, but I’d rather just leave it at that,” he said.

  9. raysfan1 - Sep 30, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    What?! You mean baseball players actually *gasp!* consumed demon alcohol during a GAME?!!! Say it isn’t so! Please, for the love of Abner Doubleday, think of the children!

    • raysfan1 - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:57 PM

      Hmmm…this seems to be gathering a number of “thumbs downs.” Thought it was a pretty obvious bit of sarcastic humor, so does this mean that there are really a majority of fans really think a player having a beer is that big a deal? Really?

  10. yowillie12 - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Some nights they needed a double.

  11. amctjc - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    this story has to be false……if I was failing as badly as the red sox failed I would be drinking something a lot more potent than beer!!!!!!

  12. greedleague - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    Real pros. Losers.

  13. mojosmagic - Oct 1, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    I would bet on Lester the molester.

  14. ericrarey - Oct 1, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    its totally lackey …. while in California with my team the angels he was known for his beer drinking escapades with mike napoli and Scott shields at just about every local watering hole in town

    • bigleagues - Oct 1, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      While I have no doubt Lackey was involved, I excerpted Gordon Edes column above – which has a unnamed player (I’m thinking its Pedroia since he was very vocal in support of Francona yesterday) singling out Beckett.

  15. 1historian - Oct 2, 2011 at 3:40 PM


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