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Morosi: baseball should ban alcohol in the clubhouse

Feb 2, 2010, 7:57 AM EDT

Busch stadium scoreboard.jpgFOX’s Jon Paul Morosi thinks it’s time for the 15 or so teams that continue to provide alcohol to players in the clubhouse after the game to ban the practice:

A universal ban on alcohol in major league clubhouses is long overdue.
Until every team removes beer from the working quarters of its
employees, each day on the baseball schedule will include the most
unsettling of possibilities – that alcohol consumed in a clubhouse
could contribute to injury or death on the road.

I struggle
to think of a good reason why baseball clubhouses should be viewed
differently than all the other workplaces where alcohol is forbidden.
The NFL gets this. Roger Goodell has a simple, easy-to-remember policy:
If you’re in the locker room, bus or airplane of an NFL team, you can’t
drink. Period.

While I’m not entirely unsympathetic to Morosi’s arguments, the examples he uses don’t help him out that much. Miguel Cabrera, Morosi’s lede, was drinking at a hotel after a game. Josh Hancock — the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher who was killed while driving drunk in 2007 and whom Morosi also cites — was drinking at a restaurant. The NFL’s policy may or may not be a good one in practice, but one wonders if it’s borne out of a real thought process or out of the fact the NFL seems hellbent on treating its players like children.

I’m not aware of any incidents involving ballplayers and alcohol that have been directly linked to beer in the clubhouse. Indeed, when several clubs moved to ban clubhouse beer following Hancock’s death many people around the game — I recall Joe Torre’s comments specifically — noted that beer at the ballpark wasn’t much of a problem at all.  Most players either have families they want to get home to following the game and/or adhere to conditioning regimes that simply aren’t compatible with pounding that Budweiser after a game. On the road everyone rides the bus or takes a cab.

As a lawyer, I can appreciate that fear of liability is what really drives this sort of thing, and it’s a legitimate fear. But if that’s something teams are truly interested in, they have to examine a bunch of their other alcohol policies as well, such as how much fans are served and when.  I’ve had the privilege of sitting in a luxury box before and I observed that if one were so inclined, one could sit in one of those bad boys and chase whiskey with beer for three solid hours without ever taking a dollar out of their pocket. Likewise, some teams’ “all-inclusive” seating areas — the cheap seats where you can get all-you-can-eat food — includes beer.

Where does that leave us? I can’t speak for others, but in my mind it leaves us with clubhouse bans being largely symbolic due to the fact that after-game beer hasn’t been a real problem and potentially hypocritical due to how freely the booze flows to others who leave the ballpark in their cars each night.

That doesn’t mean that banning clubhouse beer is a bad idea — if I owned a team and something happened with a player after the game I’d probably feel better if I knew he didn’t have a beer on the premises that night — but I don’t know that it’s a particularly useful one either.

  1. john - Feb 3, 2010 at 7:23 AM

    Hey Johnny, guess what? We are not a free nation never have and never will. Our govt. puts another law on the books every 15 minutes in the name of security of the people.

  2. len - Feb 3, 2010 at 8:14 AM

    yes band alcohol from all club houses and celebrations. the nfl don’t have alcohol in their club house any time from making the play off to winning the super bowl.
    don’t tell me it tradition cause if you do, then tradition needs to change. It time to show kids you can celebrate and have a good time without liquor being involved.
    I assume this is another reason why the NFL is the number one sport it ahead of it time and doesn’t live in the past.

  3. Cecil Hays - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    Absolutely ban all alcohol from the clubhouse. These guys are at work at their job. How many people routinely consume alcohol while they are working? I know every job I have had would fire you immediately if caught drinking on the job. I would ban it from being sold at the stadiums as well but that is a whole different argument.

  4. John - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    Talk about image busters!!! What do athletes think kids think of when they see their idol drinking in the clubhouse? There is a place for everything and drinking should be left for parties after the athletes leave the stadium or arena. If they want to celebrate let a shaving cream company sponsor the locker room celebration and give the teams large containers of their product to spray all over one another! Seltzer bottles would also work if they want something wet! We have sponsors for everything else like a pitching change in baseball, award ceremonies, post game reports, etc. why not the locker room celebration!

  5. Joe - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    I’ve never had a job or worked for a company that provided or even allowed alcohol in the locker room, lunch room or even out in the parking lot. As a matter of fact, now that companies are liable in civil court action if they provide alcohol to employees and an accidental injury or death results, it could cost that company massive amounts of money.
    Babe Ruth’s legacy is that of a hard drinking, hard hitting baseball player. Micky Mantle wss known to live life the same way.
    But-what kind of players and how many more home runs, hits, stolen bases, etc., would these two baseball legends been able to add to their incredible careers? I believe absolutely that Barry Bonds would have been chasing Mickey Mantles home run record had Mantle taken care of himself.
    Besides, now that NBA players are bringing guns to the locker rooms why provide any highly compensated athlete the opportunity to mix alcohol and firearms in the workplace.
    Next thing we know they will be drinking beer and carrying a sidearm during games…….

  6. Gary Mayer - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:15 AM

    Bud Selignot: No, you are certainly not Bud Selig. He has been a master as a commish with all he has done to improve fan attendance.
    You won’t see Budweiser advertised at Miller Park, arguably the best venue in the MLB for watching a game. I don’t even think it’s sold there. We get Miller, others, and for $6.75, a 20 oz. cup of the best high-end beer you will find anywhere, Sprecher.
    I certainly hope the Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals are amongst the 15 or so teams still allowing beer in the clubhouse. Those are beer drinking towns and it would be unprofessional to deny Miller and Anheuser-Bush to serve their brands in the clubhouse due to the fact that these two breweries have put so much into advertising rights and support of their hometown teams; same for Coors or any ballpark that boasts a brewery that has naming rights.
    As for championships (division, league and world series), it would be ridiculous to go backward to prohibition. I like to see the champagne douses, just like Gatorade in the NFL and NCAA.

  7. blogomaniac - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    I hope the Brewers are one of the 15 ‘or so’ who still serve beer in the clubhouse. Miller has put a lot of money into Miller Park and the Brewers and community, in general. This is not just a ballpark, it’s an adventure, the best venue in baseball. I would add that Cards and Rockies fans might feel the same. When a brewery has naming rights you don’t pull their product out of the clubhouse, whether it be nachos, beer or (well, let’s leave banks out of this discussion).
    As for post-season, certainly, alcohol! Champagne is the specialty, with all the bottle-shaking and hosing; what a blast!
    If I have any concern, it’s the fans. Hometown pride has gone a little too far and fans often go beserk. After the season is over, the only fans who remember the world series victor are the ones who live there. Just like New York. The only people who think New York is the U.S.A.’s greatest city are New Yorkers.

  8. milboka - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    Hey, these are performing monkeys were talking about. Let them perform. I think they should think about adding some booze to the menu.

  9. Joey B - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    “Did it ever dawn on anyone out there that no one actually HAS to drink period. There’s about a million reasons to not drink and none, zero, nada as to why you should drink.”
    How about enjoyment?
    I not only drink beer, but I also drink Coke and coffee, and occasionally a milkshake. There is also no reason why one has to eat donuts, Terramasu (sp?), clottd cream, brownies, ice cream, and a whole of other goodies.
    I understand that occasionally someone will get addicted to alcohol, but for most of the population, a glass of wine is much less of a health threat than living next to a Dunkin Donuts.

  10. Joey B - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    Wow, I really did not know that any business in this country lets you drink at the office. Allowing players to drink in the clubhouse is absoultely insane. That would be like drinking at work after 5pm.
    At this point then, you are merely talking about location. No company I ever worked for banned beer at lunch, and all of them threw parties off-site. You are probably better off putting 2 Coors Lights per player in a cooler than allowing to congregate after the game.
    Assuming it takes about an hour to get out of the clubhouse, how much can 2 Coors Lights raise your blood alcohol level in an hour?

  11. Mike Gallinoto - Feb 3, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Their should be no alcohol allowed in the clubhouse. This should be the rule with any sport. The commissioner’s office has to get tough.

  12. mc - Feb 3, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    You cannot drink where I work, and sure that is the same for many of you posters here. It is time to ban drinking in the club house. For what reason. Players should do what we do, go home and have a drink or stop at a bar.
    It is a ridiculous practice and should be banned.

  13. BudFoster - Feb 3, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Let’s ban liberals, wimps and pussies. Oops, that’s redundant.

  14. snaglepuss - Feb 3, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    even the players have to be drunk for this boring azz game. if they didn’t sell beer in the stands, half the stadium would be empty.

  15. john - Feb 3, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Yo Joey, Get divorced and write again. See how that soda works out

  16. john - Feb 3, 2010 at 11:47 AM


  17. john - Feb 3, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Gee Charles, sounds like your sheepskin is as plyable as what I wiped my ass with today. People are stupid and are driven by 3 things, who can I fuck, when is my next meal and how little can I do and get away with it.

  18. john - Feb 3, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    BOO HOO. Should have learned how to hit a baseball instead of getting stoned.

  19. milboka - Feb 3, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    John, you sound pretty passionate and angry about a game that’s only slightly better than cricket mainly because it’s a lot shorter. Oh my, the whimsical ways we waste our time never cease to amaze.

  20. jamess - Feb 3, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Alcohol should be banned from the clubhouse….nothing keeps the players there after they have been drinking, there is not a team bus after home games, by providing the alcohol, the owners and MLB are promoting Drunk Driving instead of showing that people should not be drinking. Alcohol also can be used as a pain reliever, when you get drunk, you feel very little, well that you can’t remember… If the league wants to allow individual teams to provide alcohol, then why not pain killers and eventually steroids to help improve the game.

  21. orion - Feb 3, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Oh great, if they ban alcohol I’ll never get a date.

  22. Joey B - Feb 3, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    “by providing the alcohol, the owners and MLB are promoting Drunk Driving instead of showing that people should not be drinking.”
    I don’t think anyone in here is advocating drunk driving. How about figuring out what the blood-alcohol content is for a 200 person drinking 2 Coors Lights in an hour. You’re probably more endangered if they were talking on a cell phone.

  23. joe - Feb 3, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    These are people old enough to drink. Its no bodies business what they do on their own time. Another liberal attack on one’s freedom. Another lib hit piece on freedom of choice . Its up to the owner of the club, not the lib control freaks

  24. Matt - Feb 15, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    Wow not only is Calcaterra a homo, he is a communist!

  25. Matt - Feb 15, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Hate to tell ya Joe but we libs tend to endorse such freedoms as smoking marijuana. OHHHHH but if your a Repugnican then you can do whatever you want with your body…except smoke pot! Standard dickly conservative hypocrisy.

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