BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox starter Jon Lester has admitted to drinking beer in the clubhouse during games, but is sure it did not contribute to the team's September collapse.
"There's a perception out there that we were up there getting hammered and that wasn't the case," Lester told The Boston Globe on Monday, saying the in-game activities were "the wrong thing to do."
Along with Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey were all reported to drink beer, eat fried chicken, and play video games in the clubhouse during games.
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"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."
Lester said only starting pitchers who were not scheduled to pitch were participating in the "ninth-inning rally beer."
"Most of the times, it was one beer, a beer," he said. "It was like having a Coke in terms of how it affected you. I know how it looks to people and it probably looks bad. But we weren't up there just drinking and eating and nobody played video games. We watched the game.
He also stated they only ordered fried chicken once, and their clubhouse fun was not the reason the Red Sox hit their 7-20 September skid.
The lefty also added that poor physical conditioning did not lead to the team's demise, and noted pitches usually put on some weight during the season due to their hectic travel and eating schedule.
"I've heard what people are saying in Boston. I can tell you that guys were in the weight room. Guys were doing their shoulder [exercises] and guys were prepared to pitch," said Lester. "If we win a few more games in September and make the playoffs, none of this comes out. But we didn't and that's on us as a team and on me personally. I take a lot of the blame for this, a lot."
Lester finished the season at 15-6 with a 2.93 ERA, but went 0-3 with an 8.24 ERA in his last four starts, all Boston loses.
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