Posted on: February 25, 2012 4:39 pm
Ft. Myers, Fla. -- Say this for the new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine: when he gets an 80-mph fastball right down the middle of the plate, he knocks it out of the park. Yes, of course Valentine told Red Sox players h was banning beer on the last leg of charter flights and also in the clubhouse. (He didn't say anything about chicken, but we'll assume that's still OK.)
Of course Valentine had to ban beer. You can't have two straight beer-stained seasons.
Red Sox veteran pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey spoiled the party after it was revealed they sometimes had their beer in the clubhouse while the game was going on (and their 2011 collapse was still going on). Beckett and Lester have admitted they erred in doing so. That's nice, but Valentine can't take the chance they'd do it again.
Valentine banned beer in the Mets clubhouse when he was there, so this isn't only a reaction to last year's shenanigans in Boston. He always worried about things that could happen to ballplayers who drank too much.
Valentine once got ripped by the New York press (me, included) for suggesting Mets star Todd Hundley "needed more sleep,'' which was actually a kind way of saying that he stayed out too late, which is a kind way of saying he should maybe drink a bit less. Hundley was a really nice man, but Valentine was right (yes, I was wrong). Hundley still is a great guy, but everyone around that team knew he should have drank less.
Valentine was lambasted at the time by Hundley's enabling agents, the Levinson brothers, who should have realized Valentine was right and gotten their client to sleep more. The agents should have thanked Valentine for caring about Hundley but instead to this day carry on a behind-the-scenes campaign against Valentine over his kind euphemisms. Not nice.
In this case, no one could argue with Valentine, unless not publicly. Red Sox star David Ortiz told Dan Roche of WBZ-FM, "We're not here to drink. We're here to play baseball. It ain't a bar.''
Anyway, Valentine isn't afraid to do what's unpopular. Asked how his decision was received at today's team meeting, Valentine said, "Do you mean was it a standing ovation or booing.''
He said it somewhere in between. It should have been the standing ovation.