Should Baseball Players Be Allowed To Drink Beer, Eat Food & Play Video Games In The Clubhouse During Games?
If you’re a starting pitcher for a Major League Baseball team, you’ve got a pretty good gig. While playing just about any other position on a baseball team requires you to be ready to play every single game of the season, starting pitchers usually get four or five days off between their starts, if not more. It’s intense when they do have to pitch. But between starts, they’ve got the cushiest jobs in all of Major League Baseball.
But we didn’t know just how cushy they had it until we read a recent Boston Globe piece about what several Boston Red Sox starting pitchers did during their off days this season. Rather than sit and watch their teammates play or, better yet, sit and study the other team, Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey allegedly hung out in the clubhouse during crucial games in September drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games. That’s right. While the Sox were in a playoff hunt and trying desperately not to lose a 10-game lead in the wild card race to the Tampa Bay Rays, Beckett, Lester, and Lackey were kicking it back in the clubhouse and having a good old time.
Outside of the fact that it shows blatant disrespect for your teammates when you’re not actively involved in a game, the situation with the Red Sox brings up an interesting question: Should baseball players even be allowed to hang out back in the clubhouse during games? And, further, shouldn’t Major League Baseball be enforcing a rule that requires all players to be either in the dugout or the bullpen during games?
I’d argue that players should be forced out of the clubhouse during games, unless an ejection or some other circumstance forces them from the playing field, if for no other reason than that baseball fans are spending their hard-earned money on game tickets to see their favorite players at the ballpark. Even if a starting pitcher isn’t expected to pitch, he should be required to be somewhere out near the playing field so that fans can get the full experience of a baseball game. I don’t know how this makes other fans feel, but as a New York Mets fan, if I paid 50 bucks for a ticket to a Mets fan and later found out that every starting pitcher for the Mets outside of the one that was pitching that day was back in the clubhouse during the entire game, I’d feel cheated. I’d feel as though the Mets didn’t care about their fans enough to force all of their players to at least pretend like they were interested in the game that day. And if they aren’t interested, why should I be?
It’s why Major League Baseball has to step in here and do something about what could potentially become a bigger problem. Clearly, there are guys hanging around in the clubhouse during baseball games and not actively engaging themselves in the games that are going on. It sounds like this has been going on for years now and it sounds like players have never really felt like it was all that big of a deal. But it is a big deal and, as a fan of Major League Baseball, I think Commissioner Bud Selig has to step in here and do something. These guys are making millions of dollars every year to play baseball. The least they could do is come out of the clubhouse and pretend like they enjoy doing it.
These guys already have pretty cushy jobs to begin with. Instead of working everyday like the average American, starting pitchers get to lounge around for the majority of the week before they have to get up off their ass to do some work. So while they’re doing it, they should be forced to do it out where we all can see them. If they absolutely must be back in the clubhouse during games, let it be for something progressive. Let it be to study tape or, at the very least, to watch the game on a monitor while they work out, talk to the training staff, or study the team that they’re facing. But don’t let it be to drink beer, eat fast food, and play video games.
When players do that, they’re cheating their teams, they’re cheating their fans, and, most importantly, they’re cheating the game of baseball. So please, Major League Baseball: Do something about this. Get guys out of the clubhouse and back into the game. We, the fans, deserve better. Starting next season, something has to be done.