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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Does it Matter if Red Sox Pitchers Drank Beer During Games on Their Off Days?

Now that the Red Sox have completed their historic September collapse, the media and fans have the rest of the year to dissect what went wrong with the team. It’s widely expected that manager Terry Francona will not be back, and many other changes to the team could be made. One of the arguments for getting rid of Francona is that he lost proper control of the clubhouse.

A report published in The Boston Herald Friday says some Red Sox pitchers drank beer during games on the days they didn’t pitch. The professionalism of those players has been called into question.

Francona also reportedly had to call a team meeting after a 14-0 win to address negativity and a lack of cohesion. His comments at a press conference Thursday indicate that team chemistry was an issue. But despite all that, the Red Sox were having a successful season and appeared poised for a postseason appearance until their collapse.

Many of these items would never have been referenced had the Red Sox not blown their wild card lead.

Now that they have, the question must be asked: Is drinking beer in the clubhouse during a game an issue?

On one hand, these are pitchers who were not scheduled to pitch that day. If they know they’re not going to pitch that day, is there anything wrong with cracking open a cold one in the clubhouse? It’s not like we’re talking the Dallas Mavericks who Mark Cuban said drank during halftime of games, and it’s not like we’re talking Ron Artest who admitted to drinking during games. These are pitchers who in all likelihood were not going to be asked to work that day.

On the other hand, what kind of message is it sending if some players are sipping brews while the rest of the team is trying to win games? One former Major League player and current coach told LBS that drinking is disrespectful to teammates, and that it would suck if pitchers were getting hammered on company time.

It’s hard to perceive drinking as anything other than disrespectful, but it’s hard to complain if it’s not hindering the team’s performance. Once it did, that’s when it became a problem.

Tip of the cap to Hardball Talk for the heads up.



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