It seems to that a definitive statement that the late season perofrmance of Beckett and Lester had nothing to do with beer and fried chicken is just as speculative as saying that the beer and fried chicken were important contributors to their performance.
It is so far down on the list of problems and overall dysfunction that this team displayed that I hardly think it registers.
To me, drinking in the clubhouse during games is symptomatic of someone with an alcohol problem. That doesn't mean one of them has/had a problem, but any of them could be functional alcoholics and we wouldn't really know. Knowing that information raises the odds from whatever you though they were without the information to something more than that. In addition, eating fried chicken as a mid-game snack is symptomatic of someone who is taking their conditioning..., eh..., let's call it..., less than seriously.
Athletes eating fried chicken is a non-story if they aren't skipping workouts and putting on weight. If you think those guys are the only ones who ever drank beer and ate chicken on the team you're cuh-raaaaaaaaaazy.
So, to me, if you concede, as you did, that part of the problem was lack of conditioning, then the beer in the clubhouse and the fried chicken as a mid-game snack are at the very least a clear demonstation of that lack of commitment to conditioning. As you say, that doesn't mean it is causal, but if they're tossing back cold ones all evening, then I'm betting they're not getting into the park quite as early the next day as the ones who aren't.
The lack of commitment to conditioning was the clear demonstration to the lack of commitment to conditioning. Banning beer does not solve the problem of why Josh Beckett did not take conditioning seriously last season. If beer was not allowed in the clubhouse last year it's not like Beckett would have magically been good down the stretch, or been in better shape. This is major league baseball, some of the greatest heroes in history were fall-down drunks, as are some of the present-day all-stars. That's not the issue. The issue is what they do on the field. If drinking beers really affected one's ability to play baseball that significantly, the history of baseball would look a lot different.
For all the talk of the lack of depth in the rotation, the season came down to two Beckett starts against Baltimore in which he ran out of gas in the 6th inning.
Uh, the Red Sox won 7 games that month. They spiraled helplessly out of control for a 4 weeks. Had they won 8 games, rather than 7, they would have made the postseason. If they had even a shred of depth at SP they probably could've squeaked out that 8th game. Beckett was bad, but up until that last month he'd been having a pretty killer year. Once Buchholz went down this team's rotation just totally fell apart and the options in the minors and on the bench were truly horrible.