Boston pitcher Jon Lester admitted Monday that he occasionally has had a beer and ate some fried chicken in the Red Sox clubhouse, but it didn't play a role in the teams collapse down the stretch.
Lester spoke to a number of Boston media outlets Monday and stated he is the victim of a "witch hunt."
Lester's media blitz to try to clear things up comes in the aftermath of a Boston Globe report last week that cited team sources who claimed that Lester and fellow Boston pitchers John Lackey and Josh Beckett drank beer, ate fried chicken and played video games in the clubhouse during games in which they did not pitch.
"Did we drink an occasional beer? Yes," he told ESPNBoston.com. "Did it affect our performance in September? No. This stuff has been going on long before September, and not only in this clubhouse, but 29 other clubhouses too. We ordered fried chicken maybe three times in six months. Other guys who were not playing that day would come in and have a bite to eat.
"But what people are trying to do is a witch hunt. They're looking for any reason to basically tear somebody's head off because we lost, and people right now are saying it's because we did this. I'm not shying away from saying I did it. I admit it, and I'm sure the other guys would say it too."
Boston missed the playoffs, blowing a huge lead for the AL wild card in September and losing on the final day of the season to the Baltimore Orioles while the Tampa Bay Rays won to earn the spot.
"We lost because we did not play good baseball. We did not execute Boston Red Sox good baseball," Lester said.
Lester was trying to end the story but it got kicked back up again Tuesday when WHDH-TV in Boston cited Red Sox employees as saying that Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey drank beer in the dugout during games.
Lester said the report was "completely false" through team publicist Pam Ganley in response to an ESPNBoston.com request for comment.
The sources said that the trio would leave the dugout around the sixth inning, walk back to the clubhouse and fill cups with Bud Light. They would then return to the dugout and watch the game while drinking beer.
One Red Sox employee told the station that the pitchers were "bored on nights they weren't pitching and this is how they entertained themselves."
According to the report, another Red Sox employee said: "Beckett would come down the stairs from the dugout, walking through the corridor to the clubhouse and say 'it's about that time'. Beckett was the instigator but Lester and Lackey were right behind him.
"It was blatant and hard not to notice what was going on with all three guys leaving at once."
Red Sox Players Admit to Drinking Beer
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