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Lester on Boston sports talk radio: 'You can't run from it'

Rob Bradford
July 18, 2018 - 2:17 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Jon Lester came to understand the reality of the Boston sports media scene better than most.

The pitcher had come up through the Red Sox system, entering into the big league world with the Sox in 2006 before finally leaving town just before the non-waiver trade deadline in 2014. And by the time Lester's stint in Boston was up, he fully understood the good and bad that comes with playing in this spotlight.

So when asked about the realities of playing in Boston prior to Tuesday night's All-Star Game it was no surprise the Cubs ace offered a fairly succinct blueprint of what to expect.

"You have the media coverage. You have the rabid sports fans who want answers. They want their players to respond to how the game went in their eyes," he said. "And then obviously when you have a winning atmosphere it creates expectations. And when you have expectations people have a lot to talk about."

Lester added, "Is it hard to play there? One hundred percent, it’s hard to play there. It was a grind for me at times. I think when I look back at my time there, do I regret anything that I did or I said? No. I may not come across as the most friendly person in the world but I would like to think in however many years I’ve played this game I’ve answered every question as truthfully as I can, as thoughtfully as I can. However that is portrayed in the media or by the fans, so be it. You can’t control that. I think coming from up though the organization I think I knew what I was getting myself into. I think where it can be hard for guys … Boston is not signing the 25th man for teams. They’re signing superstars. And when you’re a superstar from other teams you’re treated a little bit differently in those cities and when you get to Boston you have those expectations. You’re making a lot of money and you’re going to have stuff that comes up and whether that’s fair or not fair, I can’t answer that. It’s you guys’ job, it’s what you do and that’s what people should expect when they’re in Boston and New York."

What Lester came to understand while with the Red Sox was the importance of being genuine and accountable. He also clearly believes a good chunk of the analysis emanates from the airwaves of sports radio.

"This isn’t my favorite time of the day. Let’s put it that way. But I don’t mind doing it," said Lester of his media obligations, which included standing in front of his locker answering questions for an hour Tuesday. "I don’t mind talking about baseball. I actually love talking about baseball. But what gets awkward sometimes is talking about yourself. I don’t like talking about myself. I would rather deflect things to the team and make things about the team and what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes that can be, I don’t want to say, taken a different way, but I think now I’m obviously a little bit different. I’m more mature. I’m probably more comfortable in my skin. I feel like I’ve done a good job throughout my career whether when I was younger and older to be as thoughtful and answer a question as truthfully as I can. That’s all I can really say. From my time in Boston I tried to do that. I tried to be consistent with it and I tried to continue to do that here in Chicago. Obviously you have some coverage but it’s not the same coverage as in the Northeast. I think our guys do a good job. I think the Boston crew did a good a job. I think what happens a lot of time is talk radio has a lot of time and they talk. They can make things better, and they can make things work. It is what it is. It comes with the territory. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t run from it."

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