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Thanks, Red Sox! MLB to consider a ban on alcohol in the clubhouse

Oct 24, 2011, 11:35 AM EDT

generic beer

This is why we can’t have nice things:

Joe Torre, MLB executive vice president of baseball operations, told reporters before Sunday’s Game 4 of the World Series that MLB is considering banning alcohol in clubhouses and that he plans to look deeper into the Sox’s drinking on the job.

Allow me to say this: I don’t have strong opinions one way or another about whether players should be allowed to have alcohol in the clubhouse. On the one hand, sure, ballplayers set examples and they need to be in shape and business and pleasure don’t always mix and all of that. On the other hand,  even a lot of offices, depending on what line of work you’re in, allow people to crack a coldie a few minutes after the real work of the day winds down.  I’m not going to go to the mat for anyone here — this is about a workplace rule, not about the Constitution or the great existential issues of the day —  but I’m generally of the view that ballplayers are grownups and that as long as they’re not interfering with their work or doing anything to excess that it should be OK.

All of that said, is Joe Torre’s announcement yesterday anything other than a transparent PR thing?  I mean, because if baseball really did take drinking seriously they might have considered this before, you know, a player died in a drunk driving accident or several others got DUIs.  Rather, it’s a response to an embarrassing but crazy-overblown and generally inconsequential story coming out of the Red Sox’ late season collapse.

Why this stirs some sort of self-examination and so many other issues relating to baseball and alcohol haven’t is the question someone needs to ask Joe Torre. Because until he answers it, it’s really really hard to take him seriously here.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    There is no need to ban beer in the clubhouse because some Red Sox idiots were unprofessional and sat in the clubhouse during games.

    • marshmallowsnake - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM

      You mean because the Red Sox got caught, right? Don’t kid yourself…this happens everywhere.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Just because it happens everywhere does not make it more professional for guys to chill out in the clubhouse during a game. I’m sorry. There’s zero excuse for Lester, Beckett and Lackey to chill out in the clubhouse on nights they weren’t pitching. I don’t care what they were drinking, eating, or doing. It’s a few hours a night…sit in the god damned dugout with the rest of your team. Is that so much to ask?

  2. halladaysbiceps - Oct 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Of course it’s a PR move by Darth Selig. If the media had never broke this story, it would have been a non-issue. Just like if congress never intervened in steroids, guys would still be playing that looked like the Hulk and hitting 60 homers a year.

  3. proudlycanadian - Oct 24, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    How about banning those champagne celebrations after a series win? I hate to see that stuff go to waste.

  4. kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Ban the offending Beer. Not Beer in general.

  5. Old Gator - Oct 24, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    The idea of Joe Torre looking into something surprises me. I was under the impression that an investigative procedure required acuteness of thought and a predilection for deductive reasoning, whereas everything Torre has said and done since joining the league office suggests that they had drilled a hole in his skull and let his brains drain into the executive washroom sink.

  6. mornelithe - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    I’m pretty sure most serious businesses frown upon any kind of drinking during work hours, and some frown upon it even on work property. I’ve had to get special permission from a contract manager, just to BBQ bratwurst in beer. (I know, sounds idiotic, but managers aren’t always in their positions due to intelligence).

    I’m not entirely sure I like the idea of MLB stepping in and doing something, really, it should’ve been the Sox players showing the professionalism themselves.

    • astrozac - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:40 PM

      One step further, I think it’s actually illegal for employees to be drinking on the job/clock depending on your state laws…

    • Pacific NW Mark - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      Don’t kid yourself – this isn’t your father’s workplace with a hidden flask or a bottle in a desk drawer. In many of the largest, most successful technology companies (for example, the company that makes the software you’re running RIGHT NOW) alcohol is commonplace, and even provided by the company for celebrations and rewards.

      • mornelithe - Oct 24, 2011 at 1:38 PM

        Celebrations and rewards are entirely different from during office hours, I would think that’s pretty much assumed, since this is regarding conduct during a regular-season, and not critiquing the mass amounts of video showing players drinking and whooping it up after a division/series win. Obviously, _some_ businesses allow drinking at certain expected times.

        During work hours/regular work day? I don’t think so.

      • Pacific NW Mark - Oct 24, 2011 at 1:56 PM

        No, when I said commonplace, I meant just that: in the open, accepted, unremarkable. There are multiple beer fridges within shouting distance of my workstation. Now, no one here is operating heavy machinery, and no one is working impaired on intoxicated. But it’s by no means limited to special occasions.

  7. halladaysbiceps - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:12 PM


    Ruben Amaro Jr. was just on WIP radio being interviewed. During the interview, he was asked if the Phillies were among the teams that allow alcohol in the clubhouse. He said they allow beer in the clubhouse, but no hard liquor. He also said that in his 14 years with the Phillies, they have had zero incidents of abuse or the like. He never once heard of any issues.

    He also stated that if Torre and Selig placed a ban on alcohol in the clubhouse, the Phillies would comply.

  8. mwelsh1977 - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Some guys need it to relieve delerium tremens so I would go with a medical beer defense. Of course the Phillies have beer, that 93′ would have died from withdrawl if it weren’t allowed…

  9. edpeters101 - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Joe and Bud need to get involved with some things that matter, like a “Red Flag” to get a replay on a disputed call (Holliday out with tag on shoulder). Who cares if a ballplayer has a beer if it doesn’t effect his play, I have often had a beer at lunch, or at an afternoon break..

  10. steveohho - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    The wussification of America now comes to MLB. Say it ain’t so Joe! Maybe Torre will delve into the issue along with a few pints?

  11. gogigantos - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    is banning beer possible?
    does prohibition ever work, or is it proven to exacerbate a problem?
    would teams have to go double secret to keep it secret?
    can they keep a secret?
    my wife tried to ban beer once,,,, that got a little ugly,, we are still together, thanks for asking
    steroids, ok
    greenies, hmm
    cocaine,, understood
    weed? hmmmm
    beer,, now, go messin with a man’s beer and you may have a problem, fightin words for many an athelete, teenager, and regular dude,, in the box seats, not to be served in the bleachers, make the masses walk for theirs, they need the exercise,, so do I
    What would Bob Welch say? oh, he would say it is a good idea long time come
    is it possible?
    what has our game come to?

  12. sdelmonte - Oct 24, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    I don’t get how anyone could think it’s a good idea to drink during a game.

    I have no problem with banning alcohol from any workplace. And none with getting rid of those champagne showers, either.

  13. lovesmesomeme - Oct 24, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    TLR says banning beer is stupid and don’t even think about banning the bottle scotch he has in his desk drawer, and the glove compartment in the white van he drives. Remember TLR, Chris Hanson is watching you

  14. airedale1950 - Oct 24, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Wow!! what pussification move is next?

    I guess it must be time to break out the Racine Peaches for these guys to wear too.

    Who’d a thunk the old “dirt in the skirt” credo would make a comeback in Major League Baseball?
    Seems to me the failings of one organization to police their players should not bring punishment to the other teams.
    By the time my generation finishes screwing with baseball, there will be no traditions harking back to the old school game we grew up loving. Instant replay, umpires warning benches, gold chains and gay magnet thingies around pitcher’s necks ghetto baseball hats allowed on players ( don’t get me started on THAT one)…what’s next?…oh, never mind, I forgot, skirts and knee socks.

    • buddaley - Oct 24, 2011 at 4:13 PM

      Yes, and I imagine you are still mad they make players wear helmets and allow catchers to wear chest protectors and other guards.

      Wasn’t it terrible when they started limiting the use of physical abuse managers could dish out to intimidate umpires? John McGraw is turning over in his grave that the good old games played by thugs no longer exists.

      • airedale1950 - Oct 24, 2011 at 4:57 PM

        see, buddaley…no grasp of the traditions of the game, and using ridiculous examples to promote a flawed argument…
        it’s sissies like you that give real men a bad name

      • buddaley - Oct 24, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        You really are jumping to conclusions as I made no comment on the issue of beer drinking, which I assume is your objection, only to the type of nonsensical argument that refers uncritically to traditions as if they automatically represent “the correct way” or “the manly way”. Every era has people who look back to a previous generation and bewails the loss of tradition, which is the point of the examples I gave.

        I fail to see how not being outraged by current styles or refusing to condemn changes simply because I have grown used to a particular way of doing things reflects sissification. What I do find objectionable is assuming that being an old fart is somehow more manly than being open to change.

        Incidentally, before you jump to another unwarranted conclusion, I am not sure whether you are older than I am, but I am a senior citizen and have been for a while. So I am well aware of all sorts of baseball traditions from being brought up with them. I like some and not others, but I don’t think anyone’s opinion on any of them represents some sort of moral failing.

      • airedale1950 - Oct 24, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        So you admit to being not only a Sissy, but an out of touch OLD sissy as well.

        Ordinarily I could excuse you for your faulty views, as you obviously are in no way a student of the traditions and sanctity of the game, but at your age…some semblance of respect for the history of the game should be in your bones simply from years of exposure.
        The only conclusion one can come to in regard to your liberal point of view is you were never a serious fan of the game. As the kids say nowadays….a poser.

  15. mogogo1 - Oct 24, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    So, in the midst of what is shaping up as a classic World Series, MLB is going out of their way to take attention away from the game on the field to focus on nonsense like this? Simply bizarre. It’s incomprehensible that Torre would think this was a good time to talk about this.

  16. clydeserra - Oct 24, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    The A’s removed alcohol from both clubhouses following a player getting arrested for a DUI.

    It doesn’t seem that hard or controversial. The teams can take care of it on their own.

  17. phillyphreak - Oct 24, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    I really wish that people could stop pretending that beer in the clubhouse was the reason that the Red Sox collapsed.

  18. otis52gsh - Oct 24, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    As long as they don’t drive home,who cares. It’s the teams choice to let them do it or not in my opinion. If they are ok with it, so be it.

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