Monday, October 24, 2011

Red Sox have much bigger problems than beer

Major League Baseball will investigate reports that Boston Red Sox players were drinking beer during baseball games, according to MLB enforcer Joe Torre, a seemingly flagrant violation of MLB rules. But the Red Sox have much bigger problems than that.

Sure, I would deem beer drinking during games a bad violation of both the rules and the spirit of baseball. And I can understand if Red Sox position players resent their starters for participating in such activities during their days between starts while the rest of the team was fighting for their playoff lives. But I doubt MLB is going to do anything but slap the wrist of the pitchers for their imbibing. We’ve seen a lot worse behavior go unpunished all around MLB.

The Red Sox problems go much deeper than some superficial MLB investigation. After their epic collapse, they are without a manager and seem to be without direction. They have critical decisions to make about veteran players such as David Ortiz and Jason Varitek, who used to be considered clubhouse leaders, but now seem to be dead weight on a team that desperately needs to shed those pounds. I think for the sake of the team, the new brain trust is going to have to clean house as much as possible.

Some people were surprised by Theo Epstein’s decision to flee Boston for the Chicago Cubs. I can’t say that I’m one of them. It’s obvious that Epstein took one long look at the team he helped shepherd to two World Series championships and realized there was nothing more he could do for the team he grew up loving. Even for the “Boy Genius,” the Red Sox have too many problems to solve, ones that have nothing to do with drinking beer.

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