Johnny Damon Says Red Sox Pitchers ‘Should Have Known Better,’ Sidesteps Question About 2004 Team Drinking


Johnny Damon Says Red Sox Pitchers 'Should Have Known Better,' Sidesteps Question About 2004 Team DrinkingFew teams generated more legendary clubhouse stories than the 2003 and 2004 Red Sox. The "Cowboy Up" boys and the "Bunch of Idiots" were two of the most popular groups in team history, and one of the ringmasters spoke Tuesday about the 2011 collapse.

Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon appeared with Dan Sileo on WDAE Tampa to talk about closing in on some illustrious statistical milestones and possibly finishing his career with the Rays. Toward the end of the interview, he addressed the controversy surrounding his old team.

Damon defended manager Terry Francona by saying some players should have exerted more leadership in the clubhouse.

"Terry Francona is, to me, a great manager, but sometimes you need players in the clubhouse to help sort those things out," Damon said. "The players probably should have known better to respect the game a bit, but there are teams I've been on before that would try to get a rally going.

"Obviously, not the guys who are playing in the game. It's unfortunate."

When asked if drinking in the clubhouse and dugout occurred in 2004, Damon did not directly address the question.

"The thing is, in 2004, we had such a great chemistry in the locker room that people had each other's back," Damon said. "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."

Is that a yes or a no?

Listen to Damon's full interview below.

Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him at @BenjeeBallgame.

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