(above: Lester, Lackey & Beckettt, shown during spring training, sprinting….after an ice cream truck)

“I’m who I am because of my wife and my mom and dad. Not Josh (Beckett)”, Red Sox starter Jon Lester insists to Peter Abraham in Monday’s Boston Globe.  Responding to last week’s reports that portrayed the trio of Lester, Beckett and the underachieving John Lackey as a trio of beer-guzzling, fried chicken chomping brats, more interested in playing video games in the clubhouse than paying first-hand witness to their club’s epic September collapse, Lester tells Abraham, “you can’t have a team that gets paid like we get paid and loses and not expect people to want answers.”

“There’s a perception out there that we were up there getting hammered and that wasn’t the case,” Lester told The Globe via telephone from his home in Georgia. “Was it a bad habit? Yes. I should have been on the bench more than I was. But we just played bad baseball as a team in September. We stunk. To be honest, we were doing the same things all season when we had the best record in baseball.”

Lester said the drinking was confined to starting pitchers who weren’t in the game that day. “It was a ninth-inning rally beer,” he said. “We probably ordered chicken from Popeye’s like once a month. That happened. But that’s not the reason we lost.

Lester also denied that poor physical conditioning was a reason for the team’s 7-20 September collapse. He said that pitchers typically gain weight during the season.

“It’s probably because of how we eat,” he said. “We have some crazy hours with the travel and you get in at 4 a.m. and you get room service or something quick. But unless your body fat is going up 10 percent or something like that, you don’t have a problem.

Lester said the perception that he followed Beckett down the wrong path was untrue.

“I’m not a follower. I’m a grown-ass man. I made my decisions. He wasn’t twisting my arm like I was in high school,” Lester said.