BOSTON (CBS) – The message down at Red Sox Spring Training is clear.
“2011 is over.”
At least that is what owner Tom Werner yelled to WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche during his interview with Jon Lester this weekend down in Fort Myers.
Lester was answering Roche’s question about last season’s collapse, when the two heard the voice from above. When they looked up, standing on a balcony was both Werner and John Henry.
“Or as they say in Boston, ‘ovah'” joked Werner.
But of course, it is hard not to think of the 9-20 September that left the Red Sox sitting out of the postseason for the second straight year.
“We played like crap,” said Lester, who went 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in the season’s final month. “The historic collapse, all that stuff, I think it left a bitter taste in a lot of guy’s mouth.”
Lester with Roche Part 1
Lester addressed the collapse, and the “beer and chicken” in the clubhouse, shortly after the season saying the “rally beers” some of the pitchers had on their off days during games were blown out of proportion. He said it was a hard topic to address, but the facts needed to be set straight.
“It was hard but I think at the time it needed to be done,” he said. “At least people got the facts, and that’s the biggest thing. I could sleep better at night knowing those people had the facts of what actually happened; that it wasn’t a frat house and we weren’t in there running around.”
Toucher & Rich: Roche’s Spring Training Update
Josh Beckett was not as open about addressing the situation during the offseason, but Lester said fans and the media should not hold that against the Sox righty.
“That’s Josh. He’s not me; he’s not going to sit up there and say the things I said,” said Lester. “He’s going to do it in a different way, and I think people need to understand that; realize he’s in the same boat I am. He’s not proud of what we did, and people need to move on.”
Lester with Roche Part 2
“Josh is a good guy; he’s a good teammate. No matter what came out last year about any of that stuff, he’s a good teammate and he cares a lot about us,” he said. “They don’t know the real Josh. They see the baseball player Josh and he is a completely different person off the field than he is on.”
As for this season, Lester is confident the team is ready to return to the playoffs.
“I think we are as good as anybody. I think people have to remember, for 4 ½ months we were the best team in baseball last year,” he said. “Some things happened, and we didn’t play very good in September. We go 10-17, we’re in the playoffs and nobody is talking about it. We start off the season 6-6 instead of 2-10, it’s a different year.”