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Add Jason Varitek to the list of players starting to trickle out and defend themselves -- as well as teammates -- in the aftermath of the Red Sox collapse.
Varitek spoke with the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham, and touched upon the recent reports surrounding the Red Sox organization.
According to Varitek, the collapse was nothing more than a team not being able to put it all together. It wasn't drinking in the clubhouse. And it wasn't a lack of team unity, which manager Terry Francona alluded to just after the Sox were eliminated.
“I didn’t agree with that," Varitek told the Globe. "I believed that this team, regardless, pulled for each other and those things have been so grossly distorted. It’s just baffling that you can feel that way."
Instead, Varitek points to a number of other reasons that the Sox collapsed.
"We lost because we played poorly and we had some health issues and we probably taxed the bullpen too much," Varitek said. "We didn't lose because of some issue in the clubhouse. That's a lot of crap."
And when it comes to starting pitching hanging out in the clubhouse, Varitek defended that too.
"Guys are in the clubhouse all the time. I'm in there watching pitches because I can't see what I need to see from the bench. To me, that is not an issue at all."
But CSNNE's Lou Merloni thinks otherwise. While the drinking may not have had a direct effect on losing that day, in the grand scheme of things it hurts the team morale.
"Those guys drinking in the dugout is not losing games," Merloni said. "They aren't performing out on the field. But it's the message. It's the disrespect they're showing, to me, their manager -- a guy that treats them like men -- and even their teammates."
The Boston Herald's Steve Buckley took it one step further, wondering if the "respect" factor will come into play if things continue to get out of hand.
"I hope that we don't reach a point where 'respect' for the game becomes a cliche," Buckley said. "Because respect for the game should be paramount to anybody who plays the game: Management, coaches, even the writers. There should be a certain respect for the game and if you're sitting in the dugout drinking beers during the game, you cannot make a case for respecting the game, I'm sorry."