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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. AJ Gallo - Feb 2, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    It would seem Craig, that there’s a lot more work that needs to be done to get America to take the issue of drinking and driving more seriously.

  2. Russell - Feb 2, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    So Jonah, present this case; why is it a GOOD idea to provide alcohol in the workplace for major league baseball players?

  3. BudSelignot - Feb 2, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Seems confusing – Beer is good. PED’s are bad. Budweiser is advertized at every ball park and that’s good? Smoking will get you kicked out of the game and perhaps the entire State. Pot is ok and should be legalized but Heroin is scary and crack is whack. Glad I helped clarify things.

  4. chris - Feb 2, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Citing Larussa as evidence might not be the strongest argument you could come up with, Craig. If steroid comments are any indication, he has no idea what happens in the clubhouse. But i’m not surprised we don’t hear about clubhouse/alcohol incidents in the press, as with greenies and steroids, there seems to be a pretty significant filter between what goes on in there and what actually gets reported. The article mentions the Esteban Loaiza case from a couple of years ago, when he started a game for the A’s then proceeded to get pulled over for driving his Ferrari 100 mph while drunk later that night. I can’t find anything that says he was drinking in the clubhouse, but Beane immediately banned alcohol from the Colloseum clubhouses. Not proof, but the implication is that Beane felt like he dodged a bullet.

  5. Old Gator - Feb 2, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Heh, I actually wrote a short story back somehwere along the line (inspired mostly by William Gibson’s Count Zero) about a science institute where Walt Disney’s body was saved in cryogenic suspension, and his brain slowly worked its way through the computer system of the institute and began running things the way Walt had run Disney Inc. I stuck it in a drawer in my London flat and promptly forgot it was there. After I moved back to the States I was sober one day and remembered it. Ah well. One of these days I may get stoned enough to try and write it again.
    Anyhow, I have a buddy who lives near Reims who did some architectural design work at EuroDisney and I’m pretty sure he told me the workers, at least, won quiet permission to have their wine with lunch. What happened after that, I don’t know really; there’s not much reason for someone who lives a three hour drive south of Orland to go trade quadrapalegic Bush dollars for muscular, steroid enhanced Euros to go see an attraction not nearly as extensive as the same one back home. No doubt the croissants would have been fresher, but I can throw a bunch of Pillsbury’s quik-baking stuff in the oven, slice ’em open and sprinkle Hershey’s Kisses on them and who the hell would know the difference?

  6. philJ - Feb 2, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    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. Duh! How hard is this the figure out? Where does common sense/logic fit in here? Have we become so jaded these days that everyone now thinks we HAVE to drink. How about just playing baseball and then going home. Gee what a novel idea.

  7. Gelardia - Feb 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Drunk fans are more of an issue. Ban beer for the fans and make them take breathalyzers before entering the stadium so they can’t pound em before the game.
    I know it’s wishful thinking but I really can’t stand the drunk a-holes in the stands like that father son duo in Chicago.

  8. FordPSD60 - Feb 2, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    Gelardia I concur. They need to ban all alcohol from all stadiums because drunk fans are a much bigger problem. You go to an Eagles game and chances are there will be fights with drunks. And don’t dare wear a Cowboys jersey to a game. As an Eagles fan I will tell they are the worse.

  9. 2cents - Feb 2, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    I can only fear this will lead to the banning of ice cream cones after little league games.

  10. Big Mac - Feb 2, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Well, geeee:
    I am a 58 year old female construction expert. Banning beer, alcohol, in the clubhouse should follow the example of congress – Teddy Kennedy, the other Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson, Michelle Obama (who loves champaigne), Barry (who loves alcohol and Mr. Sinclair), gosh – should all that be banned? What would Bawney Fwank have to say about that?
    As long as we have perverts, alcoholics, and drug abusers in the Congress (and White House), screw this ban. Further, I will bet you the writer got high once or twice today, and if not, will tonight.
    Hypocrite twit.

  11. Jack Velvet - Feb 2, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    Yeah, let’s ban alcohol, and let’s replace sliding pads with Pampers
    and get rid of those damn Jock Straps with those Pansie Cups in them
    with some Minnie Stuffed Animals and Cotton Balls, those Men got a
    lot of nerve playing a childs game and making all that money, it’s
    American duty to protect them from everything that Mom is not around
    to take care of.

  12. The Brain - Feb 2, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Well, we can celebrate today. Teddy has been sober for over 60 days. A new record, I am sure, in the Kennedy family.
    We have to ask for sources to confirm that females, sheep, and men have not been assaulted by the Kennedy clan, or Bawney, in the last few weeks.
    I guess positive answers on all of the above would be a start.
    For God’s sakes, we have assholes, perverts, cheats, liars, communists, socialists, pedophiles, and whatever else in Congress and the administration. C’mon America, let us clean house. Democrat, Republican, Independent, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, etc. – we need a government that is honest, fair, and intelligent. We do not have it now. Clean house.

  13. shoeless joe - Feb 2, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    How bout keep the alcohol and kick the media out of the club house. They control to much in sports today.

  14. celery56 - Feb 2, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    No beer didn’t help the babe hit more home runs but I’ll bet it kept him from hitting more.

  15. Brent - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    You are comparing apples to oranges. Granted the apples, the fans in the stands, are paying to see the oranges play. But every stadium has “rules” in place to help curb the program. For instance, if you are at a MLB game, you cant order a beer after the 7th inning. No matter what ball park you are in. That, to a point, helps curb DWI’s from the paying customers. If the MLB teams say no to the acutally players from drinking before they hit the road and after they hit the showers, that will help as well. If you take away the chance of a lawsuit against an establisment, I person will be less likely to sue. Just think about it.

  16. UncleD - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Guess the ban would mean no clubhouse celebrations either…like winning the Pennant or the World Series. That’s when the old champaign really flows, and its all shown on television.

  17. bill - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    donot ban it let the players pay for it and sign a wavier for the team will not be respondible

  18. Mike - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    These people are supposedly adults!
    #1 If they’re going to drink, no ban is going to stop them
    #2 If not a ban, then a zero-tolerance for any drunken behavior.
    Having million-dollar salaries should pay for their professionalism, both on and off the field. When they retire, they can drink themselves to death if they like.

  19. No Winger - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    I’ll bet when Josh Hancock signed the declaration of Independence, he never had the idea that Americans couldn’t have beer in there clubhouses. And if Babe Ruth hadn’t had a beer once in awhile, do you think Paul Bunyan would’ve made him his pet? And where would baseball be without Harry Caray, the “BUD MAN” who used to boink the wife of the real Bud Man, probably after a few Buds, man. And why do you think there’s a 7th inning”stretch”. You guys don’t know nothin’ ‘bot baseball. Hey, Cold Beer Here!

  20. Freebyrd - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    Forget Banning Beer in the Clubhouse, how about banning the posting of political whining and mindless rants on Sports stories?

  21. Steve C - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    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.

  22. John - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    Go polish your jackboots, you miserable Nazi. These are grown men, and there’s NOTHING WRONG with having a beer after a game. The problem is in misuse, not in use.

  23. Bob - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:23 PM


  24. Rick - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:24 PM

    As sort of a “disclaimer”, let me start out by saying that I am not opposed to the responsible use of alcohol and I am an occassional drinker. I am not by any means anti-alcohol.
    However, it seems that if a ballplayer can’t wait until he gets back to the hotel or home for a drink, maybe there is a problem. I am guessing that most ballplayers, unless they are staying for some kind of treatment, are out of the clubhouse in less than 90 minutes. Is having an alcoholic drink in that short of a time span that important?
    Players, especially in hot or warmer climates are going to be, at least to a certain degree, dehydrated after a game. This fact means that alcohol will have a far more significant impact on their bodies than usual.
    It comes down to the question of “why take an unnecessary risk?”. Are a few beers after a game worth the risk, even if the risk be a slight one, of ending a career or worse, ending a life or lives?
    I agree the the comment about the NFL’s attempt to treat the players like children and it has certainly earned the tag the “No Fun League”. But on this one issue, I think they have it right. Unless you are a bartender, alcohol has no place in the workplace and it is simply unnecessary.
    If a player can’t make it through the 90 minutes or so after a game, maybe there is a bigger problem than we realize.

  25. David S. - Feb 3, 2010 at 5:29 AM

    Gelardia — no one makes you go to the games, do they? The point here is it starts with wanting to ban alcohol in the club house, then they will go after banning it altogether in the stadiums. After all, if the players can’t drink, some will reason why should the fans? Another expample of living in a nanny state. Some folks think they should control everyone else’s lives. Ugh — enough of you people!

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