Johnny Damon, a player who knows a thing or two about winning and good team chemistry, was on WDAE in Tampa today and talked about the news coming out of Boston.
Question: “There was a report out of Boston that Josh Beckett was one of three Red Sox pitchers that drank beer in the dugout this season. Did that happen in 2004 when you were with the Red Sox as well? Your thoughts on Terry Francona not being the Red Sox manager any longer?”
Damon: “Terry Francona to me is a great manager, but sometimes the players in the clubhouse also help smooth things out. The players probably should have known a bit better to respect the game a bit. There are teams that I have been on before that have tried to get a rally going [by having a beer] or obviously the guys who aren’t playing in a game, but it’s unfortunate. I think Jon Lester called it a ‘witch hunt,’ and trying to play the blame game. They just had a bad September. Nobody wants to go through that.
“Unfortunately when you are in the Boston market and that happens and you don’t make the playoffs things change and there is a lot of changes going on there right now, especially with the team that was supposed to win the World Series. We were happy because of their demise. It got us into the playoffs and gave us a chance to possibly do something great, so unfortunately that is how that market is. David Ortiz said too that there is drama every single day.”
Question: “So did the beer drinking in the clubhouse and dugout happen in 2004? Or is the media just making too big of a deal about it?”
Damon: “The thing is in 2004 we had such a great chemistry in the locker room that people had each other’s back. If the media was blowing up a player we had guys like Kevin Millar or guys like myself and Bill Mueller, who would step up and take the bullet and protect players and that’s very important to a team. I felt like every time we lost a game this year it was on me because I didn’t get that hit in the first inning or didn’t have a good base running play in the third. I learned early to be accountable even when you don’t have to be accountable and because of that over time it has made me a better player and an even better teammate.”
Cue all the wild-eyed crazies ripping Johnny in 3 … 2 …. 1