Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Sit down, Jon

I spent most of today offline, working on a family project that will take up a lot of time and bring me much joy.  I need the distraction from the world of baseball right now.  So when I finally jumped back online this evening I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Jon Lester had spoken at length about the accusations coming off of Yawkey Way right now.

That was before I actually read what he said.

There are plenty of places to read the quotes by Lester.  I suppose I should say “good for him” for speaking out but I’m just not feeling it.  Sure he came out and said the reason they lost had nothing to do with ownership, Theo Epstein or Terry Francona and placed the blame all on the team but he also blew off the talk of the pitchers not being on the bench and instead being in the clubhouse drinking and said that as much as he was fond of Tito it was probably time for him to go.

Let me get this part out first because I keep reading people making jokes about anyone getting up in arms over a few baseball players having beers on days they aren’t playing and I feel like it’s getting overlooked or, really, just ignored for the sake of keeping up the narrative.

I don’t think there is anyone who begrudges anyone else a beer.  And I’m sure that having drinks in the clubhouse after the game is common but there is no scenario I can imagine where it’s appropriate for a clique of pitchers to leave the dugout  during a game and have beers instead of acting like part of the team.  Having written that, it seems to me that the bigger issue isn’t specifically that they were drinking beer but that in doing whatever they were doing in that clubhouse (which, even by Lester’s account, was drinking beer) was disrespecting not only their teammates but their manager. I really don’t care how you defend the beer drinking, being a group of entitled asses segregating yourself from the rest of your team and ignoring your manager is unacceptable.

Here’s what Lester said about Terry Francona:

But there comes a time when your authority is no longer there. You kind of run your course. People knew how Tito was and we pushed the envelope with it. We never had rules, we never had that iron-fist mentality. If you screwed up, he called you on it. That was how it worked.

“I never saw guys purposely breaking rules or doing the wrong thing in front of him and rubbing it in his face. But this particular team probably needed more structure. Tito was the perfect guy for this team for a long time but I think he got burnt out.”

Let me break down his tripe:

*  But there comes a time when your authority is no longer there ~ The only way I will grant Lester this is if the clubhouse was full of new players who hadn’t played under Tito before.  It makes no sense that Tito’s authority would suddenly be gone with players who have worked for him previous to 2010.  Now, I don’t find Tito blameless in all of this. If the stories are true it’s very possible he let his private life get in the way of his doing his job properly.  But this is a two-way street and players, ADULTS, who have worked for him before should have the maturity to treat him with the respect he deserves.

* People knew how Tito was and we pushed the envelope with it ~ You don’t push the envelope when you’re in your late twenties and early thirties.  You are grown, professional men and you’re admitting you acted like teenagers taking advantage of your single mom working nights.

* This particular team probably needed more structure ~ This quote makes me want to kick Lester repeatedly. How many men on that team are over the age of 25?  How many are married men with children?  Again, we’re talking about adults who should not be whining that they need “more structure”.

* I think he got burnt out ~ No, Jon, you burned him out.  And all your talk of what “good guys” you all are is falling on deaf ears over here.  Good guys don’t act like idiots.  Good guys don’t force their manager, one of the best at his job and the most successful ever on your team, to quit the job they love.  Good guys don’t blame the media for a witch hunt when the things they are reporting are accurate.

Plenty of people are writing or talking tonight about how great it is that Lester came clean and took the blame for what went on. I’d love to feel that way and was hoping that was the case.  But his words about Tito really come across harsh here.  Tito treated this guy like a son and his way of repaying all of that is to disrespect him and chalk it up to Tito being burned out.  I’m disgusted.  I mean, I was already disgusted but this media blitz, which I’m sure he was hoping would make everyone remember that he’s Jon Lester and everyone gives him a long rope, only enhanced my disgust.  I’d love this all to go away but it seems obvious now that we’re going to have to deal with more of these interviews from more players before we get finished with this garbage.

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October 18, 2011 - Posted by | 2011 | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. All your points are well taken, Cyn. It drives me up the wall to hear an adult professional implying it’s anyone’s fault but his own that he has no self-discipline. For whatever it may be worth–and I do think it’s worth something–Lester is still talking today, still trying to clarify his previous comments, and what I’ve read does sound like at least he definitely gets it that what he said yesterday threw Tito under the bus, and he’s fiercely embarrassed about that, as well he should be. Today he’s talking to Rob Bradford (who was refreshingly seeking clarification from a player instead of just writing about alleged testimony from anonymous gremlins) and insisting that what happened in September is entirely the players’ fault and not attributable to the choices of the manager or front office. I think what’s driving HIM up the wall is how much Boston media make out of every detail regarding the club–to the point where the focus is more on beer in the clubhouse than E9s and 7.08 ERAs on the field.”I sucked,” he says, and sucked at the worst possible time, and that’s what HE carries into the offseason. However, the beer-in-the-clubhouse DOES matter–not for the obvious reason but for the context in which it took place. As Millar has pointed out, they chugged whiskey shots before Game 7 of the ’04 ALCS, and Sox fans tend to grin and shake their heads affectionately when they hear that; we dont’ smile at the image of three pitchers amid a miserable slump kicking back with a brewski on their off-day while their comrades struggle on the field. What matters most is (1) the spirit with which they acted and (2) the efficacy of their work. I’m thinking those pregame shots in ’04, counterproductive as they were from a sports-physiology perspective, were dopey-constructive in that they were so manifestly chugging for the team, as a devil-take-the-hindmost defiance of–or salute to?– the baseball gods, to will eachother into a state of cheerful grace under ultimate pressure–a dubious but heartfelt pregame cheer. One questions their technique, but not the baseball-performance logic in their intention. The Pitchers of Beer of 2011 were, as you note, NOT trying to gear themselves up for the game to come but sitting in the clubhouse with their backs to the dugout, lending no supportive presence to their comrades.

    Comment by Elaine Apthorp | October 18, 2011 | Reply

  2. “Tito treated this guy like a son and his way of repaying all of that is to disrespect him and chalk it up to Tito being burned out.”

    How many times have we read this, and yet, we don’t know. Yes, they looked like they were close, and had spoken fond of each other, but you have as much insight into their relationship as you do of the family you pass in the mall.

    Maybe they were close at one time, and not now. Maybe they’ve had problems. Maybe the relationship went bad. Who knows. But hugging him after the no-hitter and saying he’s like a son to you doesn’t make it so.

    It would be nice if you wrote about that which you know. You know his w/l record, his era. You know next to nothing about the day to day relationship between lester and francona. Might be time to stop pretending you do.

    Comment by del | October 18, 2011 | Reply


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