Sunday, February 19, 2012
Lester: 'I take complete responsibility'
By Joe McDonald
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jon Lester met with members of the Boston media this morning. Here are the highlights:
“The way everything ended obviously leaves a bitter taste in everyone's mouths,” Lester said. “I’m definitely motivated to get back and I’m ready to go. It’s been a long winter and I’m excited to be here.”
On whether he thought about the September collapse over the winter:
“A lot. It’s one of those things you don’t ever forget. In baseball, it seems like every year there’s something you haven’t seen before and that was one thing I’ve never really seen. Now that it’s over and we’re here, it’s a new season, a new start and I’m kind of glad a lot of these guys went through it. I went through it and it’s going to make us better. It’s going to make us stronger to where if we get into a situation like that where we’re not playing good, we’ll reflect back on last year, on September, and realize we can get through this, learn from it and get better.”
On the reports of an out-of-control clubhouse:
“I did a pretty good job of covering that in November. I don’t think there’s anything else to talk about it. The biggest thing is, for myself, I’m ready to move on from it. I’ve learned from it and it’s something I’m not proud of. You learn from your mistakes and I’m looking forward to starting new this year and try to be a leader, being a better teammate, being on the bench.
“With that being said, the starting pitchers do have a lot of stuff to do during the game that we don’t get to before the game because position players are the priority. If we’re not pitching, then we let them go first and we’ll come in after the game starts and do what we need to do.
“The first time you go through it, we were all naive. We kept saying, ‘We’re going to be fine.’ The mindset was that we were going to be in the playoffs. We’ll just get there and when we get there, everybody’s going to come back and be healthy and ready to go. We stunk. I stunk and Tampa Bay was better. That’s basically how it was. Now you put that in your memory bank, just like your experiences in the World Series and the playoffs or pitching in tight games, you file those in your memory bank and when you’re in those situations you draw from it and learn from it.”
On his pitching poorly down the stretch:
“It’s disappointing. It’s a crucial time of the year and I’m supposed to pitch good and I didn’t. I don’t know why. Physically, it was September and I felt fine. I tried to grind through it but it was one of those things.
“Usually, as soon as the season ends I go home and don’t think about baseball. I’m done and I move on. This year it lingered in my head and I think that helped motivate me to get into the gym more and start moving back to baseball. I have more desire this year.”
On whether he had talked to Josh Beckett about last season:
“No. He knows. We know. I can’t speak for him completely, but I know we don’t need to sit down and have a heart-to-heart about anything. I think we both know we need to do a better job on the field and be around these guys more. We do care and we want to win.”
On Red Sox fans being angry:
“They should be. We didn’t play very good. With all the other stuff added on top of that, it’s obviously going to make it worse. I don’t blame them for being mad. We didn’t play good. We stunk. I stunk. I take complete responsibility for it. With that being said, we’ve all learned from it. We’ve all moved on. I’m sure that’s going to be a big theme in spring training for a lot of guys. We’re moving on and we’re looking forward to 2012. I think that desire to compete and really win and show the fans that we do actually care, I think a lot of fans don’t think we care and that we’re a bunch of babies, but we do care. We want to win and we want to get back into the playoffs and hopefully bring a World Series back to this town again and show these fans that we are a good team.”