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.

Comments (6)

  1. This idea that the Red Sox missed the playoffs last season because of clubhouse issues still hilariously continues to pervade the media.

    They were one of the best teams in baseball last season and they will be again regardless of anything Bobby Valentine does to help or hinder them.

  2. If you have to ride the bus home, will it make a stop at the local golf course or strip club to pick up the vets back to Ft. Myers? (hey, at least I didn’t mention the local fried chicken joint).

  3. Not sure where Olney is getting this “Alaska of the Grapefruit League” business from. Fort Myers is within 2.5 hours of 60 percent of the other spring training sites, which is a reasonable (if slightly above average) distance if you look at a map of the Grapefruit stadiums.

    Sounds to me like Olney is wallowing in his own woes — but don’t blame the drive between the Yankees’ facility in Tampa and the Sox in Ft. Myers on anyone but your bosses at ESPN, Buster. It just feels extra long because you’re not allowed to stop at any of the great stadiums along I-75. I mean, why waste your time… who cares about the non-audience-generating teams?

    (Jupiter, on the other side of the state and further south, home to the Cards and the Marlins, is definitely the “Alaska,” if one had to describe the somewhat longer drive to a nearby town with that absurd appellation.)

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