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Jack McKeon used to lock Marlins’ clubhouse door to keep Josh Beckett out during games

Oct 12, 2011, 5:12 PM EDT

josh beckett marlins si cover

Josh Beckett is among the Red Sox pitchers who reportedly drank beer, ate fried chicken, and played video games in the clubhouse during games and former Marlins manager Jack McKeon recalls locking the clubhouse door to keep Beckett (and Brad Penny) in the dugout during the 2003 season.

Not only that, McKeon told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that he forced players to use bathroom passes–which he amusingly called “poo-poo cards and pee-pee cards”–if they wanted to go into the clubhouse mid-game.

Here’s more from McKeon:

In between innings they’d go to the clubhouse to get a drink or hang out. I said, “Hey, I got no rule against going up if you have to go to the bathroom or something, but get back.” A couple of times I looked down the bench to talk to somebody and they weren’t there. They were in the clubhouse. So I went up and got them out and said, “OK, boys that’s it. We’ll lock the door.”

Florida won the World Series that season and a 23-year-old Beckett was named World Series MVP.

McKeon told Capozzi that he also had to threaten to keep this season’s Marlins out of the clubhouse, but never actually locked the door:

You had a lot of pitchers who didn’t have anything to do. What I wanted them to do is teach them how to focus. If they wanted to be good they’re going to have to focus by watching the opposition and learning something instead of running up to the clubhouse and getting a drink and kibitzing and stuff like that.

Presumably by “getting a drink” he means something non-alcoholic, although at this point who knows.

  1. cur68 - Oct 12, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Jack McKeon running a ball club or a kindergarten? Sounds like Terry Francona was running the Kiddie Korral after him, too. Pity he didn’t think to issue hall passes to the guys on the bench.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 12, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      Jack McKeon = Adult Supervision.

  2. SmackSaw - Oct 12, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    So what? They’re grown men with guaranteed contracts. If a millionaire wants fried chicken and a few beers, what the hell? They aren’t hurting anybody. They’re privileged.

    • skipperxc - Oct 12, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      While true, it becomes an issue when the players let it go to their heads and it affects performance, which it would seem these guys did as evidenced by their total disregard for the conditioning personnel.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 12, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        Most people can’t drink and play video games during working hours. If your performance sucks, you certainly should not expect to be allowed to drink and play video games during working hours. These guys have a job and they have employers who are paying lots of money for their services. They need to make sure they are giving the best services they can provide.

        Do I really need to type this?

      • SmackSaw - Oct 12, 2011 at 6:02 PM

        Well then they should take it up with the union. The MLBPA should have conduct standards in their bylaws. If not, then they’ll do what they want no matter who they’re disrespecting or who they’re paid by. Like I said, they’re privileged.

    • 12strikes - Oct 13, 2011 at 8:47 AM

      Tell you what SmackSaw.

      How about you stand at home plate and allow a guy that had a “few beers” to toss 95 mph fastball at your mellon and then see if you still feel “They’re Privileged”.

      • SmackSaw - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:00 PM

        It didn’t seem to bother Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle!

    • bigleagues - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      We should have an end of the year awards for HBT.

      Among the awards should be Worst Comment of the Year . . . and for that award I would immediately place this into nomination:

      So what? They’re grown men with guaranteed contracts. If a millionaire wants fried chicken and a few beers, what the hell? They aren’t hurting anybody. They’re privileged.

      I am not one to fixate on salaries or payroll totals, unless I’m attempting to dispel some well used myths, however, there is being professional and being unprofessional. Anytime you are being compensated in the millions of dollars per year, getting all off the perks and bonuses that go along with being a MLB player . . . you must make some sacrifices in your life. One of those sacrifices is simple . . .TEAM FIRST.

      It is NOT being “privileged” to unilaterally decide that you and a buddy are going back into the clubhouse during the game to continue your campaign of gluttony while the rest of your team is down on the field and in the dugout trying to win games. That, my friend, is being selfish and unprofessional.

      End of story.

  3. terryinsanantonio - Oct 12, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    In my opinion, this is so overblown. You think Mickey Mantle ever had a few sips of beer during a game? I’m sure he did. 30 years ago, this wouldn’t have even been reported. The Boston media has to come up with some scandalous reason the Sox didn’t make the playoffs, when in reality, they just plain choked. It’s as simple as that.

    • xmatt0926x - Oct 12, 2011 at 10:09 PM

      I think Mantle had a few sips during the game, after the game, middle of the night, when he woke up for breakfast……

    • indaburg - Oct 12, 2011 at 10:37 PM

      Didn’t Mickey Mantle also die ultimately as a result of alcoholism? He also expressed great regret about his drinking. Probably not the best example or role model. During his time, people thought smoking cigarettes were good for you too. We know a lot more about conditioning and optimizing health than we knew back during the good ole days. They can drink on their own time, if they must. Their employer is paying them handsomely to perform while in top condition.

      • Old Gator - Oct 12, 2011 at 11:11 PM

        Mickey Mantle died of cancer, the same disease that claimed his father and grandfather. More than likely he was genetically predestined for it. How much his drinking contributed to its onset when it did claim him is something we’ll never know.

    • bigleagues - Oct 13, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      This isn’t the time of Mantle. This isn’t 30 years ago. This isn’t 1978, ’86 or 2003. It is 2011. And the reality is this:

      Red Sox Starting Pitchers, April – August: 60-37, 4.08 ERA, 1.306 not great, but not awful and certainly enough to win 83 Games through August 31st.

      Red Sox Starting Pitchers, September: 4-13, 7.08 ERA, 1.753 WHIP

      You can call it a choke, I call it systemic failure. Beckett and Lackey represent a clubhouse cancer that must receive swift and aggressive treatment.

      There has always been an issue with conditioning when it comes to Josh Beckett. ALWAYS. John Lackey’s lack of conditioning was obvious in his starts when he constantly couldn’t make pitches he used to make. Wakefield has been a valuable member of this franchise for a long time, but its time to turn the page.

      And if you think FRIED chicken and beer during games and between starts starts is helping him with his conditioning, then perhaps you are confusing softball with baseball.

      This is 2011. Baseball is no longer a ‘club’ sport. It’s an enterprise. And in Boston – one of major league sports greatest fan bases pays more because it expects more.

      Overblown, you say? And I say, you just don’t get it.

  4. lostsok - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    This appears to be an issue because the Sox tanked, and they want an “excuse.” Sometimes…you just don’t win. There IS no excuse. This behavior was the reason? Tell that to the ’97 Marlins.

  5. cogitobaseballergosum - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:55 AM

    I’m just trying to picture Ivan Rodriguez asking for a “poo-poo” pass.

  6. pastabelly - Oct 13, 2011 at 5:55 AM

    Beckett, Lackey, and Lester put on a lot of weight and were fat and also awful in September. Did they really care?

  7. RickyB - Oct 13, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    The best part of this story? Jack McKeon using the word “kibitzing.”

  8. spoiledbratswhosuck - Oct 13, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Spoiled immature athletes. Whats new? Ever wonder why Tommy Lasorda, Frank Robinson and other great managers retired? To manage crap like that is maddening. These jocks are useless and are “real men” only in their minds. Baseball is no longer a real game. Looks more like a “beer league” where the goal is to hit a homer everytime up. Dumb jocks that have bastardized the game.
    I have not been to a game in 10 years and will never spend another penny watching a glorified “softball” game. Oh? One more thing……how many of these jocks played for DADDY ball growing up in elite travel leagues where DADDY wrapped their sons with the best players…..what a joke. Somebody to wipe your ass and clean your room.

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