BOSTON -- In a recent blog for ESPN, national baseball writer Buster Olney wrote that the Red Sox's clubhouse was toxic.
Several players and manager Bobby Valentine took exception to that report and disputed the accuracy of it.
"Completely fabricated," said Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett. "I don't know where people get that from. I think people want that to be the case and I just don't think it is. I think this is probably one of the tightest-knit groups I've ever been a part of, with dinners on the road, a couple family trips here this last time. We do a lot of stuff together. There's a good continuity here. I think there are certain people, they want it to be that way, and so they report it that way. It's just not like that at all."
There were well-chronicled issues after last September's collapse about players not pulling from the same rope, and even beer-drinking by starting pitchers during games they weren't pitching in.
But there have been no specific incidents that have come to light this season about misconduct or a lack of cohesion.
"It's one of the better ones I've ever been on," said Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross. "All the guys get along real well. We enjoy playing with each other, we enjoy hanging out with each other -- just a really good vibe in here."
"I don't know how to define toxic," Valentine said. "It's too big a word for me. But I'm not going to comment on people's articles. I don't even comment on [the Boston media's] articles. Why would I comment on someone that I don't think knows anything."
What does Valentine see from his clubhouse?
"A bunch of guys who get dressed and play loud music before the game and seem to get ready," Valentine said. "I don't have a word for it. I mean, I don't think it's romper room or whatever it is. You know, it's a lot of guys -- a lot of men who hang out together. A lot of changing parts in there too."