Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: the captain just wants to make sure everyone's on the same page next season.
Jason Varitek joined WAAF in Boston with the Hill-Man Morning Show to discuss the reports of the pitchers drinking in the dugout, the leaks coming out of Fenway, who might be behind them, poor play down the stretch, how drinking in the clubhouse goes back seven seasons, if the Red Sox can bounce back, if he'll be back with the team and what the Sox should look for in a manager.
Did you ever see Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester drink beer in the dugout during games?:
"Absolutely not. … Who's the unnamed source? Once again it's an unnamed source."
On the leaks of information coming out of Fenway:
"I think the worst thing going on is that this team has always handled thing internally. We've had problems in the 15 years that I've been there, but nobody knows about them. Whether it be guys fighting, guys having a problem with a coach, guys having a problem with a trainer … you can't have 25 guys around each other for 6-8 months and not have trouble. … Those things have happened. The problem is, we've handled them internally for so long. We've won the majority of the time that I've been here. We've had that opportunity to go the playoffs. We took care of them internally. All of a sudden we don't, we don't perform well and these things are now brought about by an unnamed source? Shame on them. If it's a player, if it's a trainer, a coach, management, ownership. Shame on you, if you can't come out and be a part of it."
Do you think a player is behind the leaks?:
"No. But we don't really know at this point. That's what shameful in this whole thing. Besides the way we played. We played absolute bad baseball, without saying it any other way."
Do you lump yourself in with those that played poorly down the stretch?:
"Absolutely. It would be ridiculous for me not to. … Does that mean I forgot and didn't all of a sudden care about calling a game, and I'm now stupid? No. But that's kind of what in my opinion is the perception of what's gone on. We didn't perform well. And we have to take that responsibility as players, outside of everything that's gone on."
Was drinking in the clubhouse wrong?:
"Wrong? Yeah, it's wrong. Was it out of control? I don't believe it was out of control. Did it happen and nobody's aware of it that it's going on? Absolutely, over a long period of time. Is this something new? It goes all the way back to '04. Everybody giggles about [Kevin] Millar taking shots back then. It's something that's not good to be promoted in baseball, period. But for it to have been a problem? No."
Can the Red Sox bounce back next year?:
"The team can have it not be an issue. Can Red Sox Nation, and what builds and fuels this team? If they can't get over it, then it's going to be an issue."
Are you going to be back next year?:
"I would love to be. I have bled this uniform my entire career proudly. I've literally bled this uniform. It's hard to think to go anywhere else. But like I have the last two winters, especially last winter, I know that it might not be in their plans. And then if I'm going to play, I have to be prepared to go somewhere else."
What should the Red Sox look for in a manager?:
"The game's developed and changed. Somebody to come in, fundamentally sound. What I mean the game's changed is there's a whole different speed element. We have some of those pieces in place, both offensively, defensively, to be able to have it on both ends. Because you look five, six years ago, the only team that ran was [Mike] Scioscia‘s [Angels], and then it went to [Joe] Maddon in Tampa, and now it's dispersed, there's a lot more small ball in the game. … People respond to somebody that's a players' manager. But I think here, with everything that's gone on, yes you need somebody in here now that's a strong personality."