Last fall, it was reported that some Red Sox players consumed beer and fried chicken in the clubhouse during games. This revelation was piled on top of other blame for the 7-20 September that cost the Red Sox a playoff spot and led to the exiles of general manager Theo Epstein to Chicago and manager Terry Francona to ESPN.
New Boston manager Bobby Valentine has, presumably, taken care of this issue by banning alcohol in the clubhouse:
There will be no drinking in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse this season.
The team will ban alcohol in the clubhouse and on the last plane flight of road trips, new manager Bobby Valentine announced on Saturday.
At the risk of sounding like someone trying to crush all the fun out of baseball (and don't get me wrong, I enjoy an adult beverage from time to time, at the right place and time), this is an excellent idea. 19 of the 30 major league teams ban alcohol in the clubhouse; further, Red Sox veteran David Ortiz agrees:
"We're not here to drink. We're here to play baseball," the slugger said. "This ain't no bar. If you want to drink, drink at home."
"This ain't no bar." Precisely. Do you have beer or other alcohol freely available at your workplace? Unless you work in a bar or restaurant, the answer is probably "No." (And even in those situations, I'm guessing drinking on the job is strongly discouraged.) Why should baseball be any different? This is something that the owners, led by (and I use the word "led" loosely) the normally tone-deaf Bud Selig, ought to mandate throughout the major leagues.
You might be thinking, "If there's beer in the clubhouse, that might keep players' drinking under control." However, what might appear that simple likely isn't. Just because there's beer available in the clubhouse doesn't mean players won't continue to drink elsewhere after they leave the controlled environment:
Plenty of teams don't allow booze in the clubhouse, including the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost pitcher Josh Hancock to a fatal car accident in 2007 after a night of drinking that began with some postgame beers in the clubhouse.
It's time for major league baseball to step up and have a league-wide ban on alcohol in clubhouses. Drinking has no place in the workplace.