Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe has a piece up in which Jon Lester speaks on the allegations that he, John Lackey, and Josh Beckett were drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games during games:
Lester said the drinking was confined to starting pitchers who weren't in the game that day. "It was a ninth-inning rally beer," he said. "We probably ordered chicken from Popeye's like once a month. That happened. But that's not the reason we lost.
"Most of the times, it was one beer, a beer. 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."
There was also this bit, that jumped out at me:
To be honest, we were doing the same things all season when we had the best record in baseball.
And that, to me, is the crux of the issue. If you are winning, these sorts of things are credited with keeping the team loose, maintaining a good atmosphere, and the like. If you are losing, this sort of stuff gets pointed to as showing the team isn't serious and doesn't care.
If you've got a Buck Showalter-type manager and your team is winning, then his style is seen as beneficial, because he keeps players prepared, on their toes, focused, etc. If a Showalter team is losing, his style is criticized as micro-managing, fostering a bad atmosphere, making players too tight.
Boston's culture in recent years has been much more of the looser type, dating back to 2004 when Kevin Millar dubbed them "idiots" and the players seemingly reveled in that mindset. Did things go too far that way in 2011? Maybe. I don't know.
But I do think it brings to mind what Crash Davis told Nuke LaLoosh about the fungus on his shower shoe...if Nuke won 20 games in The Show, he could let the fungus grow back on his shower shoe, and the press would think he's colorful. Until then, he's just a slob. Similarly, when the Red Sox were winning, all this could be characterized in a positive light. Since they blew a huge lead, it is portrayed as a flaw.
Anyway, the whole thing is worth a read. Check it out.