Yesterday, new Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine laid out some of the rules he will be introducing in his first season at the helm. Among them was an obvious, yet necessary, one: no drinking in the clubhouse.
WEEI reported that Valentine said there would be "no beer in the clubhouse and no beer on the last leg of road trips."
It's not a new idea, for Valentine or baseball as a whole. He claims he has banned drinking in the clubhouse at almost every team he has managed and Joe Torre last season said that the commissioner's office was considering a blanket ban on alcohol across all MLB teams.
It's highly likely, then, that Bobby V would have banned it anyway, to stamp his authority on his new team, but that would have hardly been newsworthy. The reason this is a story is because it makes the Sox players look like immature children.
The kids had a fancy toy but when they were supposed to be doing their homework, they continued to play with the toy. They were too immature to be trusted, and now the toy has been taken from them.
When Jon Lester claimed that the players had only indulged in "rally beers" to spur their team on to victory, it just made the situation more laughable. Boston struggled mightily to come from behind late in games in 2011. Rather, they were often the team collapsing, a trend they infamously repeated in the final game of the season.
The Sox players embarrassed themselves down the stretch last year and now they've been disciplined. It was a move Valentine had to make, and probably would have regardless of the 7-20 September. But for a manager whose appointment was shrouded in controversy and not exactly met with cheers from the fans, it is a very good step in the right direction.
What effect will it have, though?
In an ideal situation, the players would have been so humiliated over the way 2011 ended that they would have stayed away from the brewskis without the ban. That wasn't an option, though. One can still hope, however, that the ignominy they faced will keep them better-focused on their game.
At their best, this has the potential to be a brilliant team. The pitching is the biggest concern, not just because they were the primary culprits of the "beer and chicken" scandal. If the rotation can stay healthy and productive, the Ellsbury-Pedroia-Gonzalez-Youkilis-Ortiz top half of the order can get the Sox into the playoffs.