Former manager and current executive vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball, Joe Torre told reporters yesterday that MLB would be investigating the reports of Red Sox players drinking during games.
“It’s something we’re going to look at and find the best way to approach it, let’s put it that way. We should be role models for the youngsters and how they behave.”
Currently, 12 of the 30 teams in MLB allow drinking in the clubhouse, only after games, and many, including Red Sox pitchers Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, claim that having a “rally beer” is common throughout baseball and has been for decades. The Red Sox aren’t the only team that needs to be concerned about MLB’s investigation, because Torre went on to say that the league could consider banning alcohol throughout MLB clubhouses, again citing the players as role models. Not only do the Red Sox allow drinking in their clubhouse, but they provide beer for the visiting teams as well, as documented by former Minnesota Twins right fielder (and current free agent) Michael Cuddyer, in a photo he took at Fenway Park this year and posted on his Flickr account (special thanks to the folks over at SoSH for publicizing Cuddyer’s photos).
Lester and Buchholz both admitted it was wrong for players to drink during games (while denying there was every any drinking in the dugout, claiming it was centralized to just the clubhouse) but pointed to it being something done in most MLB clubhouses. Last week, reports started surfacing about former New York Yankees Roger Clemens and Jason Giambi both drinking beer in the dugout during games as well as many New York Mets teams doing the same. The Red Sox with their September collapse and all the scrutiny set upon them have opened the door for MLB to revisit allowing alcohol in any clubhouse, something sure to annoy the teams that currently do allow it.
There is a hypocrisy that should be noted when you can’t look around a ballpark without seeing a beer advertisement and you can’t turn on a game without seeing a player with a wad of smokeless chewing tobacco in their mouth or notice the round can of tobacco in a player’s back pocket. That the league wants to put the hammer down about beer in the clubhouse, but not the tobacco, betrays the defense of doing it for the “youngsters”. The kids don’t see the players drinking in the clubhouse but they certainly see them with the smokeless tobacco.
It’s quite possible this is all just lip service from the league addressing something that happens to be in the spotlight right now as Torre admitted there is no actual plan in place yet for how the league would go about the investigation. For now, he’s put the position of MLB, which is “drinking during games is bad”, out there and that might be good enough in the eyes of the commissioner.
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