Some Things Never Change

I just read this article on espn.com reporting how Ozzie Guillen just told reporters he gets drunk in the hotel bar after every game win or lose.  He says he’s been doing it the last 25 to 28 years.

Nothing new about that, for Ozzie or anyone else in baseball.  Ballplayers and the men who manage and coach them have had more than their fair share of boozers for as long as the game has been paid professionally.

Traditionally, players are not allowed to drink in the hotel bar, because that is where the manager and the coaches drink.  Drunk players and drunk manager often results in fights, since at least a few players on every team are going be upset about their playing time (or something else) at any given time.  Just think Billy Martin, who famously fought with pitcher Dave Boswell in an alley outside the Lindell A.C. bar in Detroit in 1969 while Martin was managing the Minnesota Twins (Martin claims he popped Boswell after Boswell knocked out teammate Bobby Allison).  A decade later, Martin famously knocked out marshmallow salesman Joseph Cooper in a Minneapolis hotel bar.

Ozzie says he drinks at the hotel bar, because it keeps him from getting into trouble elsewhere, which is probably true and, like I said, the reason why players generally aren’t allowed to drink in the hotel bar.  The upshot is that players have to drink somewhere else, usually places where there are more young women (one of the perks of being a professional athlete).

MLB has now banned and tests for use of amphetamines and other stimulants.  Since the 1950’s when diet pills containing amphetamines became widely available, greenies and alcohol have gone hand in hand.  As I said, ballplayers have always drunk a lot, and greenies were a great way to play at or near 100% after a heavy night of drinking.  The greenies also facilitate more drinking, because the only way to sleep after taking a greenie for a night game is by taking downers or drinking.

I suspect there is on the whole less drinking now than there once was in baseball.  The repercussions of getting pulled over for drinking and driving are much more serious than they were 30 or more years ago.  Plus, there’s so much more money in baseball and so much more information in society in general about the adverse health effects of drinking that more players are taking better care of themselves and consequently drinking less.

All that being said, there’s still a lot of drinking in baseball and there always will be.  With most games played at night now, most players don’t have to report to work until 2:00 or 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon.  That leaves plenty of time to celebrate or commiserate after each night’s ballgame.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Baseball History, Florida Marlins, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees

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