BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox captain Jason Varitek spoke to WAAF Wednesday morning to give his thoughts on all the drama surrounding the team this offseason.
The Sox backstop was quick to shoot down the allegations of drinking in the dugout, saying he never saw anything like that. He also said the leaks from the team need to be plugged up, giving them a chance to solve these issues internally.
“We have to quit filling the coolers with vodka and beer,” Varitek joked. “Guys are professional, and I believe this group still handled themselves that way despite that going on.”
“I think the worst thing that has gone on, is that this team has handled things internally. We’ve had problems the 15 years I’ve been there, but nobody knows about them,” said Tek.
“You can’t have 25 guys around each other for six to eight months and not have trouble,” said Varitek. “Those things have happened, but the problem is we’ve handled them internally for so long. We’ve won. The majority of the time we’ve been here. We’ve had that opportunity to go into the playoffs. We’ve taken care of them internally, all of a sudden we don’t and we perform well and these things are now brought about an unnamed source? Shame on them.”
Jason Varitek Talks Red Sox Drinking, Sources
Varitek does not think the source is a fellow player, but with all that has come out, is not completely positive.
“You don’t really know at this point. That’s what’s shameful in this thing, besides the way we played,” he said.
Roche: Sox Need To Grow Up
While Varitek admits pitchers’ drinking in the clubhouse is not the best thing for the team, he admits it is nothing new.
“Wrong, yeah it’s wrong. Was it out of control? I don’t believe it was out of control. Do those things happen and nobodies aware it’s going on, absolutely,” he said. “Is this something new? No. Look back to ‘04, everyone giggles over Millar taking shots… it’s something that is not good to be promoted from baseball, period. For it to be a problem, no.”
Finding himself as a backup now, Varitek did say he has to police players in the clubhouse once in a while, but it is not a serious problem.
“It happens once or twice a year. I’ve never seen anyone play a video game. Pregame, sure,” he said, but never during a game.
Varitek also touched on a number of other topics:
On John Lackey’s emotion on the mound: “If he wasn’t a good teammate, people would probably get offended. That’s exactly what’s gone on here. All of a sudden things crash, people point fingers outward instead of inward. But lackey is so respected among teammates, whether he’s performed well or not.”
On Lackey pitching hurt: “The man pitched all year for us, took the ball every day whether he was healthy or not… he had to deal with a lot physically. Everyone is making a big deal of what he had to do off the field; that’s not a part of it.”
“He took the ball when he didn’t have to… he wasn’t 100-percent.”
On Josh Beckett: “Josh, outside of the day he pitches, is as social and as much a part of the clubhouse as anybody. He talks to me more than I talk to him. Doesn’t matter if you’re a first year guy, second year guy, last year guy. Those are things we’ve always done here since our early days.”
Read: Dan Roche’s Sports Blog
On the team respecting manager Terry Francona: “I would say yes, everybody has their own respect for their own manager. I’m still going to play with the utter respect. This is my elder. This is the way I was brought up. This is the way I was raised. Whether guys are going to go in a foxhole with somebody, at this point it doesn’t matter. He’s still our boss. It doesn’t matter what happens. He makes the lineup, we go out and play. He makes the lineup, we go out and play.”
On Carl Crawford’s “Go Ask The Captain”: “There’s never been an issue (with Carl and I). Since the day Carl signed, I was actually in the clubhouse, working out. Just got out of the pool. Alright Carl, finally got you on my team. Now I don’t have to worry about the herniated disc in my neck, when he ran me over at the plate. I could never throw him out. Then he fouled a ball off my foot and breaks my foot. Now I can last a full season.”
“Carl didn’t have his best year. But he faced probably more than he has his whole career. The next year, the next year, he’s going to get even better.”
If Players Quit: “I don’t think anyone quit. I think there are a lot of contributing factors that relate to baseball. Why did we stink early? We didn’t hit when we pitched well enough to win. We didn’t hit. Why did we win in the middle? We knocked the cover off the ball. Or we pitched well enough to allow ourselves early to knock the cover off the ball. That’s why we won. We didn’t win with stellar defense, stellar pitching. We won with offense and just getting by with our pitching.”