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Kevin Youkilis is less-than-clear on whether there was beer in the Red Sox clubhouse

Oct 3, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT

red sox mugs

Last week there was considerable to-do over a report that the Red Sox drank beer in the clubhouse on their off-days.  Kind of a silly to-do as far as I’m concerned because, hey, they’re grown men and there was no suggestion that there was any kind of alcohol abuse or anything like that.  If Sox pitchers cracked a couple of coldies while at the office, well, they wouldn’t be the first.

But the story seems to have legs insofar as it’s part of some general narrative people are discussing in the wake of Terry Francona’s departure about the Red Sox’ clubhouse chemistry, and questions about the beer continue to be asked.  Like I said, the questions seem kind of pointless to me, but the answers sure can be fun.  Here’s Kevin Youkilis’ answer in a story over at the Boston Globe:

The Red Sox third baseman wouldn’t say whether or not there was a beer-filled cooler in the locker room.

“I mean, that’s another thing too, that’s… I don’t know if that’s been out there, that’s in the media, what we have and what we don’t have,” Youkilis said. “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say if there is or there isn’t.”

That’s my boy! They’ll never break Youk! He’s not gonna flip on anyone, I tells ya!

  1. ditto65 - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    In a year with so many DUIs (and near DUIs) I would think people would be a little more sensitive to this sort of thing. I mean, I can think of our arrests this year off the top of my head – no, five'; and those are just players. Announcers and who knows who else also got tagged.

    And we have reports of players starting before the game is over. Interesting.

    • scatterbrian - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:48 PM

      I totally get what you’re saying, but isn’t that taking things too far? You’re basically saying no one is allowed to enjoy a drink because a few irresponsible people couldn’t control themselves…..or maybe you’re not. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but don’t you think that’s unfair? Perhaps these guys have enough sense to hire a driver, or take a cab…

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:57 PM

      I drink 2 sixpacks and do about 5-10 shots of Southern Comfort a night in the privacy of my home. I don’t go out and drink and drive. Not sure what DUI’s have to do with some Red Sox players throwing a few beers back during a game.

      • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:03 PM

        HA!

        I had to rub my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things . . .

        I knew you’d be back before too long!

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:07 PM

        Yeah, I’m really only commenting on the Phillies playoffs here at this point. But, when I saw this Red Sox beer story, it was too tempting to resist. I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal. These guys were probably not getting sloshed. Just throwing back a few. No need to go on a social commentary about it, bringing in DUI’s and such.

      • aceshigh11 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:09 PM

        Are you serious? Damn, that’s impressive.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:13 PM

        aces,

        I never lie about alcohol consumption. It like religion to me.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:25 PM

        Actually, thinking about it a little more, I think this beer drinking incident could have been linked to Francona’s firing. Here’s my theory.

        During a game late in the season during a game, the owner makes a surprise visit to the clubhouse. He sees Lackey and Lester passed out on the floor, empty beer cans all over the place. Then, he sees Dice-K riding around the clubhouse on a tricycle with a beer can in his hand, drunk as a skunk.

        Henry had enough.

      • ditto65 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:31 PM

        Scatterbrian, I appreciate your benefit of the doubt. I am not saying that all ball players should be teetotalers, but there are some ideas to consider.
        1. These are “professional” athletes, representing MLB.
        2. MLB has had a problem with drinking and driving this year.
        3. MLB employees are drinking on the job.

        I can’t help but think that from a PR point, which is what this is, it is a mistake.
        Perception is everything, and the perception this information creates is negative.

        And ‘Bicepts, I applaud your ability to imbibe. I, too, like to throw back a couple of martinis while watching a game. I, however, represent nobody when I do it. And I don’t do it at work.

        If the team has no problem with this perception, they should come out and say it.

      • dapperdan50 - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:13 PM

        biceps,

        Forget the Red Sox. If you are drinking that much on most nights, week in and week out, you’ve got a problem. Seriously.

        I understand it if you feel like I should mind my own business, but I work in the addiction field (and make no mistake, alcoholism is by far the most widespread and damaging addiction around) and I’ve dealt with it in my family (who hasn’t?) and I don’t think anyone should tell you this is “impressive” or cool. It’s not. It’s a problem my friend, and you should talk to someone to get help—a friend, a counselor, a minister, whatever.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:17 PM

        dapperdan50,

        I’m what they call a functional alcoholic. I work, pay my bills, drink on my off time and watch baseball. I don’t need to justify myself to anyone.

        Thanks for your concern though. I’m doing just fine.

      • uberfatty - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:22 PM

        HB, couple of things:

        1. Your lack of typos is amazing if you are drinking that much while surfing on here.
        2. That is a ridiculously high amount of nightly consumption (no judgment here, just in awe)
        3. I think this information may inform some of the “feister” exchanges you have been known to get involved in here.
        4. Cliff Lee sucks :)

      • scatterbrian - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

        cunning, baffling, and powerful

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:47 PM

        uberfatty,

        Drinking to me is like breathing. I do it naturally. I’m Irish and have the pedigree to drink. I have 30 years of drinking under my belt.

  2. everydayimfumbilin - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    crack a bottle!

  3. firedude7160 - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    We’re talking about beer? We’re talking about beer? We’re not talking about drugs. We’re talking about beer.

    • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:41 PM

      Let’s not mince words. Alcohol is a drug.

      And I’m far from a Pollyanna. I drank more than my fair share over the years. But this is pathetic and unprofessional.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        What is pathetic and unprofessional? That players were drinking on their off days? How is that pathetic and unprofessional?

        What it is, is terrible post facto explanations for why they lost. If you don’t believe so, why were the same Red Sox cheered in ’04 as lovable idiots, who were taking shots of jack before going in the game good, but players not playing having a beer or two were bad?

      • firedude7160 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:43 PM

        I would agree that alcohol, by definition, is a drug. I will give you that. But I fail to see how this is pathetic and unprofessional. Just because they threw back a couple brews while watching their team play, something most all of us do as well, doesn’t mean that they didn’t care about the success of the team. The report doesn’t say that they were getting plastered, or that they only had 1 beer. Not knowing the entire story, or if it is even true, makes all of this debate just seem futile

      • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:17 PM

        Church,

        First, just because a SP isn’t pitching that day, doesn’t man he has an “off-day” while the rest of the team is playing a game. They worked out and practiced like everyone else. They put on their uniform for each and every game like everyone else. And they do so with good reason – although it seldom happens anymore, ya never know when you’re going to be needed.

        An off-day is a day without a scheduled game.

        It’s far from being the only reason why they fell apart, but the fact this has been ongoing and more than one player has made it known they don’t approve of it – is one of the best indicators that this clubhouse is fractured and wasn’t an environment conducive winning when the going got tough.

        That two of the alleged most frequent participants are also two of the least physically fit and highest paid in the clubhouse also cannot sit well with members of the teams.

        Ultimately, how you and I feel about drinking – in uniform – during a game matters not in the least. Its the fact that are clearly members of the Red Sox team that aren’t happy about it and do not approve of teammates imbibing while the rest of the team is on the field and in the dugout trying to win games.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:45 PM

        Its the fact that are clearly members of the Red Sox team that aren’t happy about it and do not approve of teammates imbibing while the rest of the team is on the field and in the dugout trying to win games.

        Then get it fixed when it happens. Running to the press whining about people’s actions is the stuff we don’t expect from our children, let alone grown men.

        That two of the alleged most frequent participants are also two of the least physically fit and highest paid in the clubhouse also cannot sit well with members of the teams.

        This is baseball, where the most you’d ever have to run is 360 feet, I’d be careful throwing around the words in and out of shape. Also, this isn’t like other sports with guaranteed off days, especially in the last few weeks/months. Phillies played something like 35 games in 34 days, Yanks had something like 29 in 30 days. Considering games take 3-4 hours, shower and collect yourself after the game, do press conferences, drive home and unwind and deal with wife/kids, get a few hours sleep and back to the ball park the next day, these guys don’t have a lot of time to unwind.

      • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:18 PM

        Then get it fixed when it happens. Running to the press whining about people’s actions is the stuff we don’t expect from our children, let alone grown men.

        Still does excuse the act. And it’s easier said then done when two of the players in question are also two of your highest paid players.

        Considering games take 3-4 hours, shower and collect yourself after the game, do press conferences, drive home and unwind and deal with wife/kids, get a few hours sleep and back to the ball park the next day, these guys don’t have a lot of time to unwind.

        This is such a bizarre rationalization I’m not sure where to start. I guess I’ll follow your lead and work backwards . . .

        During the season, unless they have some sort of rehab program they are on or nothing else to do typically don’t have to report to the clubhouse for a night game until between 1PM (at the earliest) and 4 PM toward the later end. Le3ts say they have a 4-hour game that starts at 7 PM – worst case scenario they leave the ballpark at midnight. Most nights they leave by 11. Hardly a lack of free time.

        The Yankees and Phils played all those games because of make-up dates. Teams typically have 3, sometimes 4 scheduled off days each month (6 months X 27 games = 162 games) – then most of them have October off, and everybody has November, December, January and half of February off. Forgive me if I don’t have any sympathy for Josh Beckett to square away some quality chuggin time.

        Just for fun – 360 Feet = 120 Yards. Ever sprint the length of a football field? Not as easy as it looks is it?

        Granted baseball is a sport that someone as rotund as CC Sabathia can be considered an elite athlete. Even though I think he is a physical breakdown waiting to happen, no one can deny the muscle that guy carries on that frame. I dare anyone to find a muscle on Josh Beckett. It’s hard enough to find his neck. More to the point, Sabathia has avoided injury and been tremendously consistent. Beckett has not.

  4. bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Craig,

    Just because they wouldn’t be the first is not justification to be doing it during a game while your teammates are on the field allegedly trying to win baseball games. I know we all like to believe in some mythical tale of wine, women and song with regard to our favorite athletes – but honestly this is pathetic.

    Let us suppose this were occurring in September (which all signs seem to confirm it was). And let us suppose that Beckett had pitched 3 days before a must win game that is followed by an off-day. Francona is managing for a win. The game goes into extra Innings. By the 15th, he’s blown through his bullpen and needs Beckett for 1 Inning – except Beckett is on his 5th “off-day” beer and is back in the clubhouse singing country songs with Wakefield and Lackey.

    Red Sox ultimately lose the game because they had to run Josh Reddick out there who walked in the winning run and now has a strained forearm as a result.

    Likely to happen? No. But it is possible and what a field day the media would have had, had that scenario occurred. Stranger things have happened.

    Ultimately if a player is being paid $16 Million per season, and can’t come to Spring Training in shape, adds 20 lbs over the course of a season and can’t get past the 7th Inning (almost ever) – the Team should at least have the reasonable expectation that a player restrains himself from consumption until the conclusion of that days game.

    It’s unprofessional, should not be tolerated and don’t be surprised if the Sox try to move Beckett and/or Lackey anyway they can in this off-season.

    • scatterbrian - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:00 PM

      I haven’t seen rants like this since Dennis Miller had a show on HBO.

      • aceshigh11 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:07 PM

        I’d hardly call his post a rant. It was pretty well-reasoned.

      • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:17 PM

        Thanks Aces – I take back everything I said about you the other day :-)

      • scatterbrian - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM

        Whatever you call it, it’s a series of what-if scenarios that ends with an outfielder pitching, walking in the winning run, and straining his arm in the process. If this happened, with Beckett drunk and singing country songs with Wakefield and Lackey, maybe there’s a problem. But I haven’t read anything close to that going on.

      • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:41 PM

        Scatterbrian:

        The point is, whether you are scheduled to pitch that day or not – all players put their uniforms on each and every night that there is a scheduled game. They put that uniform on because that is what is expected of them. What is no expected – nor is it acceptable – is for an otherwise able-bodied uniformed player to be sitting in the clubhouse drinking beer (or forget the beer – substitute it with playing cards if you need to).

        End of story. Again you and others can excuse it, make jokes or romanticize any way you like . . . I can assure you that its not something that would go over well with many teammates and its certainly not something that any owner wants to hear.

        And when the players in question are on a team that entered September in First Place and exited September out of the playoffs; that the players in question sucked ass start after start in September – then it should be justifiably be scrutinized not just by the organization but by the media and fans alike.

    • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:16 PM

      Look, to give you an example of the depths to which my depravity sunk . . .

      I used to snort tequila shots for free drinks.

      This isn’t about a couple of guys throwing back a few beers after work. This is about elite athletes who get paid a shit-ton of money to perform at a high level, sitting in the clubhouse drinking while the rest of the team is on the field and in the dugout playing.

      Allegedly, this isn’t one incident, this has been the norm for the last two seasons.

      The most basic expectation of Red Sox management and ownership is that their most important employees restrain themselves from drinking until after the game is finished.

    • mj888 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:17 PM

      Was there any evidence that drinking happened DURING A GAME? If there isn’t, then end of story……….

      • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:02 PM

        From Edes column on Saturday:

        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.

        Francona didn’t want to go there Friday afternoon, reasoning that if, as manager, he’d never singled out players before for petty crimes and misdemeanors, including the poster boy for such behavior, Manny Ramirez, he wasn’t about to start now. Fair enough, although a public spanking might have been just desserts for Josh Beckett setting such an embarrassing standard for the other starters on the team.

        “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.

        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.

        An indifference by some players to conditioning. “Gluttony,” one Sox executive called it, although he stopped after just one deadly sin.

        “A sense of entitlement,” Francona said.

        No sense of urgency during the September apocalypse.

        No clubhouse leadership. “They don’t need a leader,” one prominent Sox player said Friday. “They need a babysitter.”

        http://m.espn.go.com/general/story?storyId=7041678&i=TWT&w=1b29s

      • ditto65 - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

        So, ummmm, Yeah, there is evidence.

        Guess the story hasn’t ended…(you only need three)

    • mj888 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:19 PM

      And if this went on for YEARS, then the entire Boston organization is at fault. If me as a business owner found out that my staff was drinking on the job. It would have been dealt with immediately. I find it hard to believe that Francona or anyone in upper management “allowed” this to go on for years.

      • bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:26 PM

        I agree with most of what you said . . . but if you were Terry Francona and had two of your highest paid players – who happen to form 2/5’s of your Starting Rotation – as ring leaders . . . what can you do?

        You can bring them into your office and explain why you don’t thinks its a good idea to continue doing it.

        You can have your de facto Captain, Pedroia say something to them – which likely won’t be met with happy acceptance let alone a change in behavior.

        You can go to Theo and ask that he speaks with them – but Theo can’t threaten anything like docking pay or releasing them because of the size of the contract without going to ownership.

        This particular aspect of the toxic clubhouse is on the players – specifically the ones who did it without giving a crap about what others on the team might think.

        And I think the ownership is sufficiently embarrassed by this that – whether or no Theo is here – we may see one of those guys moved this off-season no matter what the expense.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:23 PM

      Nice post. I completely agree with you.

  5. damnyankee13 - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Um, even the red sox are grown men and responcible. Drinking a couple of beers hurt nobody. Its not as if this was an all night affair with women and loud music, disturbing the neighbours..

  6. aaronmoreno - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    “Look, the WEEI guys promised me a deal. So I made up a lot of stuff about Terry Francona ’cause that’s what they wanted — but it was all lies — uh — everything. And I kept saying — Terry Francona did this and Terry Francona did that — .uh — so I said yea sure, why not.”

    • nixonotis - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:11 PM

      Frank Pantangeli strikes again.

  7. Old Gator - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    Short of evidence that these guys left the clubhouse and drove home with a BAL higher than legal, or that they malfunctioned on the field because they were pickled, this is a non-story being flogged by a bunch of journalists and bloggers with nothing else to talk about. Hard to believe that Beantown journalists could run out of venom over the team’s lousy play so soon that they’d need to dredge up this doodlysquat story before we’re out of the first week in October.,

    • firedude7160 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:16 PM

      Couldn’t agree more. I really don’t see the connection everyone is making. If they were drinking before a game they were pitching/playing in, then that is a problem. But, as was reported, they were drinking on days where they were not pitching.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:24 PM

        For me, it doesn’t matter. They are paid professionals and whether pitching or not it is part of their “workday.” If somebody can’t get through a workday without downing some beers then perhaps their is some type of issue going on.

      • firedude7160 - Oct 3, 2011 at 10:47 PM

        Good Dr.,
        My above comment was referring to the “drinking in the clubhouse = League wide DUI problems” connection people were making. I can understand the point you are making. It’s a valid argument, and I can see why you, and others, would feel that way. We don’t have to agree, just agree to disagree

  8. proudlycanadian - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    I am wondering what brand they were drinking. If it was Sam Adams, I applaud their taste. If it was Bud or something similar, I reaction is “why bother”.

  9. mj888 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    When did this supposed drinking take place? If it was DURING A GAME then that is a problem. But if it was on an off day, what is the big deal? Do you drink on your off day? I do……..

    As a life-long Yankee fan, I think the firing of Francona was ridiculous. He was one of the few that I respected.

  10. JBerardi - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    The Red Sox third baseman wouldn’t say whether or not there was a beer-filled cooler in the locker room.

    “I mean, that’s another thing too, that’s… I don’t know if that’s been out there, that’s in the media, what we have and what we don’t have,” Youkilis said. “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say if there is or there isn’t.”

    Translation: YES.

  11. ditto65 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Can you drink at work?

    If so, are they hiring?

  12. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    The biggest thing was that the report stated that the starters who weren’t pitching that night were drinking DURING THE GAME. That is totally unacceptable. Otherwise, who cares what they do one their own private time. My beef was completely with them drinking DURING A GAME IN THE CLUBHOUSE, which is what the report stated.

  13. Richard In Big D - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Ask David Wells about PUI (Pitching Under the Influence). I think he’ll tell you a story about 27 up, 27 down while still drunk from the night before…

    • ditto65 - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:23 PM

      Don Larsen will tell you the same thing.

  14. dapperdan50 - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Yeah, great, the Sox could have used David Wells last month—just one game, Boomer, please.

    But leave all the joking aside and leave aside the media monster that devours everything in sight, this IS a story. It would be a story if they won the WS this series, but the actual outcome of this sad season just puts a cherry on top of it.

    I’m ashamed of Francona for not doing something. I’m ashamed of the players who did it and I’m ashamed of the players who looked the other way. And I guess I’m ashamed of myself for paying all that money and devoting all that time to what was clearly an inferior product. I had faith that the team was disciplined, was in top condition, and was putting out 100%. And that faith is gone.

    “It’s just a beer.” Bull. The drinking may have been the cause or may have just epitomized an attitude of casualness that does NOT produce high-quality results—not in the office, not in the factory, and not in the ballpark. It sounds like this team really lost its way.

  15. bigleagues - Oct 3, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Whats scary is I would have rather seen David Wells than Kyle Weiland start another game this year. Wells was diagnosed with Type II diabetes a few year ago and he is in better shape at 48 than he was when he was playing.

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