Report: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey drank beer in dugout during games

34 Comments

Oh, man. Remember the report yesterday which claimed Jon Lester only told “part of the story” on the beer/fried chicken situation? Well, this might be the other part.

According to a report from Joe Amorosino of WHDH-7 NBC in Boston, citing two “Red Sox employees,” Josh Beckett, John Lackey and the aforementioned Lester drank beer in the dugout during games.

Previous reports indicated that they only drank in the clubhouse and Lester admitted as much yesterday in an interview with Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. However, if Amorosino’s sources can be believed, it was a much bigger issue.

On nights they weren’t pitching, the trio would reportedly exit the dugout as early as the sixth inning, walk back to the clubhouse and fill cups with Bud Light beer. They would then return to the dugout with the cups to watch the remainder of the game. Says one Red Sox employee, the trio appeared “bored on nights they weren’t pitching and this is how they entertained themselves.” It didn’t matter if the Red Sox were winning or losing and this happened more often in the latter part of the season.

“Beckett would come down the stairs from the dugout, walking through the corridor to the clubhouse and say ‘it’s about that time’. Becket 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.”

Bud Light? Seriously guys, that’s just unacceptable. In all seriousness, it’s impossible to say whether this sort of behavior resulted in the Red Sox losing games. Remember, they dealt with plenty of injuries down the stretch, too. But as an outsider, this strikes me as unprofessional and disrespectful to teammates and staff fully engaged in the game at hand.

UPDATE: Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe has confirmed Amorosino’s report via a team source.

UPDATE II: Jon Lester told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that Amorosino’s report is “completely false.”

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.