Here's a complete transcript of John Lackey's postgame press conference:
Q: How tough were the conditions out there?
A: They weren't great.
Q: Did that affect you in any way?
A: I don't think I've hit anybody with the bases loaded before, no.
Q: How did you feel before the delay?
A: Felt OK. Nothing great, nothing bad. Just felt like I was just getting into the game.
Q: Was the pitch to Venable one you felt good about?
A: It wasn't a great pitch. It was a cutter I left over the plate, for sure. You know, leadoff hitter. What are you going to do?
Q: Was every grip really tough in that (fourth) inning? Just gripping the ball with every pitch?
A: I don't know. You guys are going to write what you want to write. Whatever.
And that was that after 15 seconds of uncomfortable silence. The entire press conference lasted about 90 seconds.
Personally, I think Lackey is a decent guy and I think he pitched better last season than people give him credit for. I also have empathy for the guy and what he is going through in his personal life. You'd have to be heartless not to.
But none of those questions were antagonistic. To be honest, they were pretty much softballs. Answering questions in that fashion will only serve to make a tough season even harder on him.
Lackey is signed through the end of the 2014 season. He wasn't drafted by the Red Sox or obtained via a trade. He chose to come here knowing this was a market where fans care deeply about baseball and where the media attention is focused on the team. No player spends eight years in the majors without knowing what places like Boston, New York and Philadelphia are all about. It's great when you win and it's brutal when you lose. That's just how it is.
Lackey has 3.5 years left on his contract and they're going to be brutal ones if he can't come to grips with the atmosphere here.
Whether it's a teammate, his pitching coach, his manager or even Theo Epstein, somebody needs to get through to Lackey. This is headed down a road nobody wants to be on, least of all him.