After a whirlwind of controversy engulfed Boston pitchers who reportedly downed beer during games in 2011, the new Red Sox manager has officially outlawed alcohol in the clubhouse.
“The rules are not to embarrass themselves or the team, the community, their teammates,” Valentine said. “That’s a long-standing rule of life. It’s just what I’ve already done, except for when I was in Texas I guess. I’m comfortable with it that way.”
In addition to that regulation, players will also be prohibited from drinking alcohol on flights back to Boston. Valentine revealed the decision during Saturday’s first meeting with the entire team.
Upon the announcement, Valentine said he noticed a mixed reaction among the crowd of players.
“It was probably somewhere right in between a standing [ovation] and a standing boo,” Valentine said.
As the longest-tenured player on the Red Sox roster, David Ortiz supported his manager’s verdict.
“We’re not here to drink, we’re here to play baseball,” Ortiz said. “This ain’t no bar. This is an organization, a place that needs a lot of athleticism. Alcohol has nothing to do with that. People have alcohol in their houses. If you want to drink it, drink at home.”
After all the drama that unfolded after last season, Ortiz delivered that message to his teammates. Once Valentine conveyed his feelings, Ortiz stood up and preached the importance of professionalism.
The moment of enlightenment came to Ortiz on Saturday morning. Having reflected on the September fallout, the slugger said he wanted to alleviate the “heat” that ownership was enduring.
“I’m the older guy here, I know that a lot of people are looking at me to see how I do things,” Ortiz said. “That’s my leadership right there. That’s how you start leading people in the right way.”
Although Andrew Bailey wasn’t a member of last year’s squad, the closer said he heard Valentine’s message loud and clear.
“Just don’t embarrass yourself,” Bailey said. “That’s the key word. For me, just do the right thing and you’ll be fine.”