The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

The Only Dry Place in Wrigleyville

By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 9, 2007 3:00PM

In light of the death of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock, who was driving drunk at the time of his fatal accident, many baseball teams have re-addressed their alcohol policies for players.

The Cards were the first team to ban alcohol from their clubhouse in the wake of this tragedy, with the Nationals following suit. The Yankees, who already banned alcohol in the home locker room, have now banned it in the visitors' locker room at Yankee Stadium, too.

2007_05_sports_cubs_beer.jpgThe Cubs are now the latest team to ban alcohol from their Wrigley Field locker room. Additionally, the Cubs will ban alcohol on all Chicago-bound charter flights. Drinking will still be allowed on flights to other cities, since the players would not be getting into cars and driving upon arrival.

This rash of bans seems like the typical knee-jerk reaction one expects in the wake of a tragedy, but is this really the answer?

Chicagoist doesn't see how this really addresses the issue of drinking and driving, because the players clearly can go elsewhere to drink. In Hancock's case, he left the stadium six hours before his crash and spent that time drinking at a bar. Similarly, while the Cubs ban drinks in the locker room, how hard is it for players to grab a post-game brew or two in Wrigleyville?

The locker room ban seems like the easiest quick fix for now. We expect that the bans will quietly be lifted down the road anyway.

What Major League Baseball and its franchises need to do is address the issue more directly. Why don't the teams offer their players chauffeur services? Have a staff of driver teams whom players can call, get picked up and have their car driven home as well? What'd that cost a team over the course of a season, relative to the overall finances of a franchise?

At the league level, they need to institute severe punishment for behaviors like driving drunk. Would players risk a DUI if it also came with a 50-game suspension? If that's now the standard for steroid use, why not for drunk driving as well? Let the players have their postgame brew if they want, but make them do so responsibly.

Image via