Originally posted on Fenway West  |  Last updated 3/3/12

Bobby Valentine's announcement about banning beer in the Boston clubhouse gave Dan Shaughnessy some material for a humorous (I'm complimenting Dan for a change) piece on the importance of alcohol, not only on the Red Sox, but on all of baseball. He states that in the last century the Sox have been managed by "a conga line of drunks". He doesn't mention names, except for Mike Higgins, the most notorious. His alcoholism eventually became tragic. A few years after leaving the Sox, Higgins spent time in prison for a fatal alcohol-induced auto accident in Texas. The day after his release, he died of a heart attack. Another Sox manager from many years ago, who I will not name, was drunk so often that the front office, at the beginning of one season, appointed a manager-in-waiting in case the man was unable to continue. Within a couple of months, it happened.

I realize why Bobby V took this step.  Alcohol, even during games, was apparently a big part of the chaotic 2011 fold. But is Valentine setting up rules he can't enforce?  With the present salary structure, especially on teams like the Sox, how much power does the manager have in such matters? Before free agency, the top skippers were earning more than many of their players, giving them a huge advantage. If the rule is broken, what will the penalties be? Fines? Benchings? Will Ben Cherington be so committed to Bobby that he will back up benching one of the team's many stars?

Rightly or wrongly, alcohol and professional sports have gone hand in hand since the days of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Valentine's move is somewhat symbolic; what is there to stop a player from leaving the park and getting loaded at the nearest bar?

Many fans are probably applauding Valentine's move. But the first time it is tested, what will the outcome be? Eighteen other clubs also ban alcohol, but this is Boston and these are the Red Sox.

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