Much of the talk swirling around the Red Sox's September collapse has focused on a poisoned atmosphere in the clubhouse and a lack of leadership. Longtime catcher Jason Varitek took issue with that characterization in an interview with the Boston Globe on Tuesday.
“We lost because we played poorly and we had some health issues and we probably taxed the bullpen too much. ... We didn't lose because of some issue in the clubhouse. That's a lot of crap," he said, according to the newspaper.
"It's embarrassing professionally that we collapsed the way we did. But it wasn't because we stopped trying or stopped caring about each other. This team was just fine until the end," he said. "We tried everything we could to stop it.
"Every team has its squabbles over the course of the season. But this team got along just fine and I never had a sense that we weren't on the same page."
According to the Globe, Varitek said he was "surprised" when former manager Terry Francona expressed different sentiments.
"That's Tito's personal opinion and based on what was going on with him personally and maybe how he related to the team," Varitek said. "But I never had that sense."
Varitek also said that the report of partying in the clubhouse was exaggerated.
"That's a minuscule issue," he said. "Guys are in the clubhouse all the time,” he told the Globe. “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."
Despite the collapse and the subsequent dissection of the team, Varitek said he still wants to return.
"I'm a free agent, that's out of my hands," he said, according to the Globe. "But I've bled in this uniform for a long time and I want to continue that. Hopefully that will be the case."