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Jon Lester opens up on beer/chicken-gate, Terry Francona

Oct 17, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

Fried chicken

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe spoke with Jon Lester, who is — as far as I can tell — the first of the Red Sox Fried Chicken Posse to answer the allegations about all of that beer and chicken and those video games and stuff.  Lester was contrite to some degree, but added a healthy dose of reality too:

“There’s a perception out there that we were up there getting hammered and that wasn’t the case. Was it a bad habit? Yes. I should have been on the bench more than I was. But we just played bad baseball as a team in September. We stunk. To be honest, we were doing the same things all season when we had the best record in baseball.”

And he said that the chicken thing was overblown. Said they did it once a month. It was Popeye’s, if you care.

On a more important note, Lester had a lot of interesting things to say about Terry Francona leaving. Which, while respectful and charitable to Francona, suggest that, yeah, he lost control of the clubhouse and it was his time to go.  Click through to read his quotes on that. Pete Abe did a great job tracking Lester down and deserves the clicks.

  1. aceshigh11 - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Damnit, Craig…now my stomach is growling.

    That was a good interview. I still like Lester and think he has amazing stuff…he lost his way but owning up to it publicly is a start.

  2. bigleagues - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Jon Lester has a very good agent.

    • Glenn - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:10 PM

      Missed in all of this discussion is how Lester inadvertently knocks Varitek by lamenting the lack of veteran leadership – naming veteran role players from the past who would have been helpful this year. Where was the man with the “C” on his jersey?

      • bigleagues - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:34 AM

        Going into forced retirement – or another team.

        And I don’t think he knocked Varitek inadvertently at all.

        ‘Tek didn’t get that C because he was a vocal leader in the clubhouse as much as he quietly set a standard with his meticulous preparation and work ethic.

        He’s 40 and while he had a passable season as a backup, it’s hard for me to believe that he will be asked back.

  3. sdelmonte - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    I just keep pondering that the firestorm over the Bosox collapse dwarfs anything I saw in NYC after the Mets’ twin collapses. Never mind that I haven’t heard a thing about angry Braves fans, or finger pointing, or anything. (Craig, am I missing something among your fellow fans?) Clearly at this point, the Sox live in a realm all their own.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      I think the Braves are content to fly under the radar while watching the Red Sox complete their implosion into a singularity that will pretty much absorb the entire sports media in Massachusetts until late December when the Patriots make their playoff run.

    • bigleagues - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:23 PM



      I was embarrassed by Fever Pitch when it first came out. In fact, I’m still embarrassed by it – perhaps because its a lot closer to reality than many of us care to admit. (BTW, I can be seen while the credits roll at the end of the film. I’m standing on a rock in the Charles during the duck boat parade).

      • b7p19 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:27 PM

        Typically I would say that nobody cares (and I’m sure thats true), but thats a pretty cool thing for you to be able to say for the rest of your life.

      • clydeserra - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:39 PM

        why would a book about soccer embarrass you?

  4. lazlosother - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Pretty good interview. I think he has a valid point about weight going up during the season. I’m a NY fan, and CC’s weight definitely increased during the season, but there weren’t any articles about it when he seemed to falter late. Boston has always been a fishbowl, more so there I think than anywhere else and they have blown the clubhouse thing entirely out of proportion (in NY, if you don’t get in a fight at 4:00 AM, or have a painting of yourself as a centaur on your bedroom ceiling you are pretty much safe).

    Boston will be right back in it next year.

  5. natstowngreg - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    mmmm…Popeye’s chicken and biscuits…mmmm

    But seriously, if the Red Sox were mediocre in September instead of horrible, would Craig keep posting pictures (or rather, the same picture) of fried chicken?

  6. crispybasil - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    A Popeye’s opened in Kenmore Square (right next to Fenway) a few years back.

    • b7p19 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      Boom! Origin of the chicken is now a closed case.

      • Old Gator - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:30 PM

        Really? Then tell us, which came first?

  7. yankeesgameday - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    These guys are worth a combined gazillion bucks and they get popeyes? They should have their own personal chefs breading and frying only the freshness organic chickens with an assortment of dipping sauces and Belgian craft beers all designed to compliment the various tastes on their plate.

    But nope: popeyes.

    You can take the hick out if the sticks but you can’t take the hick out if the mouth breather.

    • acheron2112 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:27 PM

      Jon Lester’s from Tacoma, WA. Not really hicktown.

      • rollinghighwayblues - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:59 PM

        Beckett’s from Sping, Tx. A fairly affluent surburb of Houston. John Lackey on the other hand…(sigh)

      • jwbiii - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        More of a trailer place.

      • clydeserra - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      • seattlej - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        You can’t throw a salmon without hitting a hick in Tacoma…

    • b7p19 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      You would expect them to have a catered meal in the clubhouse? Yeah, thats MUCH less conspicuous than sneaking in a popeyes delivery boy.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      You’ve made me even hungrier, and NOW I want Belgian beer on top of it.

      Thanks, dude.

      • Old Gator - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        Lambic, right? With the fermented raspberries in it? Makes a great ice cream soda with a big fat scoop of Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt, BTW….

  8. xpensivewinos - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Well, I feel better about the whole thing now knowing it was Popeye’s…………and not KFC. Had it been KFC, heads would have to roll!!!!

    Baseball is a funny game. They win just one more game that first week of the season or just one random game in May, June, July, August or September and probably none of this comes to light. They make the post-season and even if they get bounced in the first round (which was completely likely) and the Red Sox have to pick up Francona’s options and probably extend Theo.

    All 162 of those games matter. One freakin’ game and the entire Red Sox organization is turned upside down from top to bottom. Crazy.

    • uyf1950 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      Actually only winning 1 more game would have made a 1 game “play in” necessary against the Rays. They still may not have made the post season. I’m not to sure about it not coming to light even in that circumstance. Going 7-20 or 8-19 in Sept. and in light of the team the Sox fielded speculation would have been rampant in any case and “stuff” would have hit the fan. Maybe it wouldn’t have had the legs it apparently has but stuff still would have come out, you can bet on it.

  9. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    “Lester said the drinking was confined to starting pitchers who weren’t in the game that day.”

    It doesn’t matter what else he says, this is a freaking disgrace. Not that they drank beers. Not that they ate chicken. Not that they got fat. Not that they had a bad September. The fact that they thought it was OK that they weren’t on the bench during the game to support their team. A Goddamn disgrace. If more teams do it, then it is still a disgrace. If you are not starting that night, your “grown-ass” should be on the bench watching and supporting your team that day. Maybe learning a thing or two for the next night’s start.

    “But nothing happened that had me unprepared to pitch. ”

    Keep telling yourself that, Jon, and you will never learn.

    “But we just played bad baseball as a team in September. We stunk. To be honest, we were doing the same things all season when we had the best record in baseball.””

    Doesn’t matter. Who cares whether it is the reason you didn’t make the playoffs? You and your fellow starting pitchers basically said “We don’t need to sit on the bench and root the team on” Nice job.

    I’ll give you and Josh and Lackey a piece of advice…want to know how to be a professional? Watch a few Phillies games from the past year. Watch guys like future hall of famer Roy Halladay…Cliff Lee…Roy Oswalt…Cole Hamels. Those guys are professionals. Every single night they were on the bench. Every. Single. Night.

    Watch and Learn.

    • clydeserra - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      unfortunately, October leaves precious few opportunities to watch Phillies games

    • Alex K - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:34 PM

      I’m not sure why it mattered where they were watched the game. Does tthe starter that day even notice who is where? If Lester, Beckett, and Lackey were on the bench cheering would team have played better? I very seriously doubt it.

      The only argument you made that I can sort of agree with is the being able to pick something up fro your next start by sitting on the bench. But I can’t get all the way behind it because if they were watching the game in the clubhouse is there that much more they could have gathered by seeing it from the dugout?

      • 24missed - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:31 PM

        I think it matters where they watch the game for rooting each other on. That’s a team attitude, not the elitist attitude that the pitchers who weren’t starting had.

        How about getting so excited about watching great baseball? The ups and the downs. Supporting the guys. The dugout is for the team.

        How ’bout those extra inning games that the bullpen might have been exhausted. They need one of those starting pitchers. It is rare, but it has happened.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:08 PM

      Alex, why is everything right or wrong based on how it would have helped the team play? Who cares whether it would have helped the team? Did I blame the September collapse on the actions of those pictures? Nope. I said they are unprofessional. Even Lester says he should have been on the bench more. It’s not a matter of “helping the team”. It’s a matter of principle. Those guys should be on the bench during the game. Unless they are getting treatment they should be on the bench. Not because it helps the team. But because it is the professional thing to do.

      • Alex K - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:09 PM

        “But nothing happened that had me unprepared to pitch. ”

        Keep telling yourself that, Jon, and you will never learn.

        Isn’t that blaming his September results on this situation? You seem to be saying that he wasn’t prepared to pitch.

        I agree that it wasn’t a professional thing to do. But, I also don’t see why it matters so much. At the end of the day this is a non story if the Red Sox make the playoffs. Heck, some people might even classify it as good chemistry if they made the playoffs.

    • pjmarn6 - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      Sure sitting in the clubhouse guzzling beer is not going to affect anyone any bit, especially the pitchers! Why would the pitchers want to study the opposing hitters and what pitches they like and strike out on or how to position the outfielders. Doesn’t make a bit of difference! They have their guaranteed contracts and what’s a win more or less or an out here or there? Guzzle that beer, watch that porn, who needs to go over the hitters and watch them, just a freaking waste of time!

      • Alex K - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:19 PM

        Why could a person not be able to get the information on hitters by watching the game on the TV in the clubhouse? No one has given me any reason why watching live from the dugout is better than watching on the TV for the pitcher’s preperation.

        We should assume all the pitchers were still having their meetings with the catchers and going over advanced scouts reports. I say this because it hasn’t been reported that they were not doing these things.

        Outfielders are usually positioned by the coaches- so what’s your point?

  10. antlerclaws - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Is there anyway that we can please start referring to this as Popeye-gate?

  11. Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Popeye’s chicken is bottom of the barrel really. It’s right in line with Church’s chicken.

    The best bought fried chicken I ever had was from Pathmark actually. They use Perdue chicken which is more than can be said of the chain stores.

    • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      I’ve had Popeye’s in multiple state’s and it is some fantastic stuff (but then, the farthest north I’ve had it is probably StL)…their biscuits are awesome..probably 1000 cal/ea..

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:50 PM

        Too much grease for me, and far too little seasoning in the coating for my taste. Haven’t had the biscuits though.

        There is no comparing any store bought to home cooked fried chicken. My wife has some girlfriends who’ve shared recipes that have run in their families for generations. It’s almost too good actually. I’m hungry now.

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:24 PM

        J5, you must have gone to some crappy Popeye’s…sorry. Most have nice spice breading and properly hot oil to to keep it from being greasy.

  12. bigleagues - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Let the “I’m a grown ass man” meme gain steam . . .

  13. notsofast10 - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Why are we talking still talking about the Red Sox, at this point they are irrelevant!!!!

  14. tashkalucy - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Great observations!

    Do you think this new guy is going to be right for Jen?

    Will Kim be happy?

    Where’s Paris been lately?


  15. JBerardi - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    “And he said that the chicken thing was overblown. Said they did it once a month. It was Popeye’s, if you care.”

    Oh, see, this changes everything. I used to work a couple blocks away not just from a Popeye’s, but that specific Popeye’s, and sometimes my coworkers would bring the stuff back for lunch. I don’t know if it’s the case for all of Popeye’s, but the fried chicken they make there is basically the foulest smelling food item I’ve ever encountered. It smells like a deep fried mens room, and it’s a mighty, plentiful oder at that. And if the Red Sox clubhouse is anything like the store I worked at, the other players quickly made a “no more eating that shit while any of us are around” rule. Lester, Lackey and Beckett weren’t ignoring their teammates, they were being considerate.

    I’m serious. Popeye’s is gross. If I’m any player on that team, during a game is the only time I want them eating that crap in the clubhouse.

  16. sportsmedic22 - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    The way to stop it would be to send in the clubhouse manager to microwave some leftover fish. Clear them out of the clubhouse and back to the bench.

  17. meaz23 - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Send them all to Texas to be executed.

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