Bobby Valentine’s Tough Love

This isn’t your dad’s set of Spring Training rules for the Boston Red Sox. Or, actually, maybe it is.

After last season’s overblown discipline issues, most often represented by pitchers who weren’t pitching daring to eat fried chicken and drink beer while their teammates played baseball, incoming manager Bobby Valentine has decided to alter a couple of the team’s policies when it comes to Spring Training travel.

Instead of veterans and others who can afford private transportation driving to and from away games in Florida, all players will be expected to ride the poverty wagon that is the team bus.

Valentine puts it simply:

Sometimes guys drove to ballparks when we played away. We’re not going to do that.

This might not seem like a big deal, but ESPN’s Buster Olney suggests that the location of the Red Sox Grapefruit league home might make this change in policy more unpopular with players than otherwise expected.

Fort Myers, the spring home of the Boston Red Sox, is like the Alaska of the Grapefruit League, an out-of-the-way place that requires a whole lot of driving time. So if a pitcher or a starting second baseman participates in a couple of innings in a game against Dunedin, their work day may end by 2 p.m. — but they won’t get home until 7 p.m., because they have to wait for the team bus.

Those poor baseball players. At least all of their luxuries haven’t been officially taken away quite yet.

When asked what the clubhouse policy would be regarding alcohol, Valentine had this to say:

I’m not going to say what I decided yet. I think the players should hear that first.

If only there was an easy way to break the ice and ensure everyone is relaxed prior to that conversation.