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Jon Lester, despite reports to the contrary, loves Boston

Jul 12, 2012, 9:09 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox Jon Lester reacts at end of second inning after he gave up six runs to New York Yankees in their MLB game in New York

Peter Gammons on the radio yesterday when asked about the possibility of the Red Sox trading Jon Lester in the offseason:

“I just sense that Jon is so unhappy here that I’m sure it would be good for him”

Jon Lester on Twitter last night:

While Lester is not dumb and would be well-advised to say such things no matter what his feelings are about Boston, I believe that one of the biggest areas of danger for anyone outside the clubhouse is to do that thing where we try to get inside a player’s head and try to figure out what they’re thinking.

It’s understandable why we do it. It’s human nature to try to figure out what other people are thinking. It’s tempting to try to reconcile and understand the stuff we see in a player’s performance with reference to assumptions about their feelings. I do it sometimes too even though I should know better.

But  it’s way too easy to just whiff on that stuff or, more often, reduce a complicated set of circumstances to simple judgments like “player X is unhappy” or whatever. And while that initial judgment like Gammons’ here is fairly benign, it’s the kind of thing that gets picked up by lesser reporters, then the radio people and then common fan as some definite truth: “Lester hates Boston! Screw him!” And that leads to the toxic kind of atmosphere we often see in places like, hey, Boston.

Gammons knows a lot of people in the Red Sox front office and may have greater insight into this than we do. But when it comes to a player’s happiness, I think the odds of anyone not particularly close to him knowing anything useful about it are pretty low, and the risk of misunderstanding a given situation through such assumptions becomes pretty high.

  1. samu0034 - Jul 12, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    The thing that kinda stinks though is that, because Boston is what it is, a statement like this by Gammons (who has twice as many followers as Lester) has the potential to create a situation in which Jon Lester DOES hate it in Boston. If all of a sudden he hears nothing but questions about why he hates Boston so much, and statements about how he’s a bum because he hates Boston, it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • crispybasil - Jul 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      Great point. And then as soon as Lester really is unhappy because the rumor spirals out of control, the Shaughnessy types come forward with articles about how it’s been “obvious” since 2009 or something.

      • patsandsox - Jul 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

        Shaughnessy is the worst of the worst in Boston I hate him. He is only read because he stirs the crap like this and people that like that stuff love him. He sucks

      • patsandsox - Jul 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        Shaughnessy is the worst of the worst in Boston I hate him. He is only read because he stirs the crap like this and people that like that stuff love him. He sucks and is why boston gets a bad name from athletes

    • lardin - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      When Gammons gets something right like a trade or a free agent signing I might listen to him.

    • Glenn - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      What happened to Gammons? He was the best baseball writer in the business at one time and now he is kind of a benign joke. I miss the old Gammons.

      • sabatimus - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:12 PM

        A stroke, among other things :|.

      • bw1980 - Jul 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM

        What happened? He works for ESPN is what happened. ESPN is the MSNBC/Fox News of sports: they don’t ever let the truth or research get in the way of a good story. I swear to God, if the people at ESPN sit in a morning meeting and somebody observes that “so and so looked really unhappy last night when somebody asked him something” the producers say “make something out of that–run with it”.

    • sabatimus - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      Could not have said it better. While the media can say what it wants, it so often creates an atmosphere of discontent and anger when the players get wind of it. Wasn’t it Chipper Jones or somebody who said one of the rules of baseball is “don’t look at the newspaper”? Intentional or no, Gammons isn’t helping. And neither are most of the Boston media.

      • bosoxfan1950 - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:05 PM

        I too used to respect and admire Gammons. No more. This little side bar is another item that’s proof positive that Gammons, for whatever reason(s), has slipped into that same primordial ooze that afflicts most other members of the media. And I do not mean the Sports Media alone. They are all dripping in it.
        I don’t know which is worse, writing nonsensical puff pieces about undeserving players or creating a controversy where none exists, also about undeserving players. Would that there be another genre of stories from which to choose when there is a quiet day. However, with the edict from media management and ownership, that’s not bloody likely. Sigh.

  2. Cyn - Jul 12, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Gammons only mentioned his “sense” of Lester’s happiness after Lester had spent the morning on Twitter retweeting and shooting back at idiot fans who were harassing him and Will Middlebrooks online. So while he might still have his pulse on the Red Sox, it came across as him jumping on Lester’s twitter mood and making it sound like he had inside info when in reality it was probably just him watching the same thing the rest of us were online and then reporting about it.

    Cracks me up that not one person in the Boston media…especially Gammo with all his connections to the team….bothered to actually call Lester and ask him about his feelings, they just used Lester’s twitter feed to produce a story on how he’s happy in Boston.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      bothered to actually call Lester and ask him about his feelings

      I was going to post something similar on the Frank White/KC story. Dayton Moore didn’t know why White was annoyed at the franchise. Shame this is still the 1700s and phones haven’t been invented yet…

      • ajcardsfan - Jul 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM

        I would like to think of Carrier Pigeons as the predecessor to Twitter

    • patsandsox - Jul 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      That would have involved both work and actual reporting

  3. deathmonkey41 - Jul 12, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    If I had to guess, I would say the Tom Cruise/ Katie Holmes breakup has devastated him.

  4. uyf1950 - Jul 12, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Isn’t it possible that Gammons has it right and that Lester is only saying the politically correct thing he can say.

    • sabatimus - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Yes, but that is in no way the point.

  5. chill1184 - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    My guess is that Gammons doesn’t want Lester on the Red Sox anymore therefore tries to get something started. I feel bad for Lester for now he’ll be bothered by mindless questions regarding this from the jackals (media) any time the team gets a bad loss while he is on the mound or some off the field episode happens.

  6. stex52 - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Bad journalism. We don’t want your sense. Call the guy and talk to him. Psychoanalyzing tweets is idiocy.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      At least Gammons had the nerve to say it was his sense, and didn’t use the “according to an unnamed source” crap that a lot of journalists pull.

      • bosoxfan1950 - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        Again, not the point.

  7. hushbrother - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Maybe the Red Sox’ front office itself is trying to get a read on Lester’s mood. It wouldn’t be the first time they employed PG as an instrument to reach out to a player. Last year, when Lackey was struggling so badly, Gammons was the one who quietly made it known his wife had cancer. This was almost certainly done at the Red Sox’ instance. It had the effect of creating empathy for Lackey, and enabling him to not have to make excuses.

    • daisycutter1 - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      Until Lackey filed for divorce.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM

        Isn’t that why they use their mouthpiece ESPN?

      • bosoxfan1950 - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:13 PM

        Exactly. And, if I recall correctly, he had her served with the divorce papers the day after she’d had a double mastectomy.

  8. stac266 - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    With everything going on in Boston this year I’m not so sure any player could be labeled “happy” to be there.

    • badintent - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      Don’t blame B.Valentine for this circus ! It’s time to break up the BSsox “Wet Head ” office and the team. Sell the best players to the Yankees, that way they can enjoy the WS victory parade ! Pathetic the front office has to use a hack like Pete”nursing home ” Gammons( what is he, 99 ? ) to find out what’s going on in a player’s head.! Stay classy Boston, and keep sucking down the clubhouse beer !

  9. rockthered1286 - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Yea let’s call a player and ask him how he feels about his current team and the city he lives in. I’m sure he’ll be honest and say exactly how he feels and not go PR on us and simply say he’s happy to keep in goo graces with the community in te event he doesn’t get moved…

    Use that thing between your ears people.

    • stex52 - Jul 12, 2012 at 3:04 PM

      Doesn’t matter that he may want to answer you straight. That is what good journalism is about. Find out what you can about his thinking. Is getting a “Sense” from a bunch of managers with ulterior motives and tweets a good way to do it? Not hardly.

  10. lazlosother - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Slow news day for Pete. If Lester does actually want to leave Boston, I can think of about 29 other teams that would be happy to give him a spot.

    When Boston gets the outfield, Bucholz and Pedroia back the atmosphere could change real quick.

    • pisano - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      Don’t make book on it,that organization is a ship of fools.

  11. bigleagues - Jul 12, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Gammons is the same guy who called Alfonso Soriano “Amaury Soriano” for like 3 columns in a row back in 2000 before someone (me) finally called him out on it and he ceased doing it.

    He said “someone told me that was the nickname he liked to go by”.

  12. bw1980 - Jul 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Despite the fact that I despise ESPN, let me be the first Sox fan to say that Lester can beat it. He can take Buchholz and Beckett with them. They can go play for the Marlins or Astros or any team whose fans don’t really give a hoot. Then they can go on the DL and golf everyday all summer or go big buck huntin’ or whatever. Heck, they can go drink beer and eat fried chicken in the stands with the fans who don’t care.

    I appreciated Beckett in 2007 but ever since he has looked unmotivated (waistline grows by an inch every year) and he’s certainly unrepentent. I hated it when Epstein signed him to an extension mid-season last year (despite the team’s stated policy of not negotiating during the season) and now I wonder if Epstein did it to sabotage the team because not only does Beckett not care, he sucks. It was acceptable when Beckett was in his old pattern of one good year followed by a bad year followed by a good year….but Beckett in his the midst of his third consecutive bad year. He’s not an ace.

    Lester was promising at one point but he’s settled in to being a decent number two/good number three in a rotation adn Buchholz has pissed away all of his talent.

    • badintent - Jul 13, 2012 at 2:53 AM

      Send Lester to Pittburgh , he can join A.J. Burnett there. Both are idiots.

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