Last week sometime, new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine banned beer in the clubhouse after games, citing last year's beer-and-fried-chicken-related issues. Normally I wouldn't care about this sort of story -- the initial report about the Red Sox drinking beer in the clubhouse was so overblown -- except to point and laugh at the Red Sox for being so ridiculous. But it looks like I won't even have to do that, as Joe Maddon has already gone and done it for us:
Unlike a certain other team, the Rays will not ban beer in their clubhouse.
Oh snap! Maddon has been rather vocal about how banning beer from the clubhouse is a stupid decision, calling the proposal "asinine" when asked earlier in the off-season, and what else do you expect from a noted wine connoisseur? In his recent comments, he went on to state how he believes players are grown-ups and can make responsible decisions for themselves. That sounds like a very rational approach to me, and one that fits in with the atmosphere that Maddon promotes in the Rays' locker room.
Oh, and what about fried chicken?
"Depends if that's what they're serving that night,‘' Maddon said. "It kind of goes well with (beer) actually.''
Maddon is the best.
- Ever wonder if this whole sabermetrics thing is actually useful for players? Apparently Brandon McCarthy credits his breakout success last season on him learning about sabermetrics and using it to refine and improve his pitching. Many other players have tried using stats knowledge to help them get better (notably Brian Bannister), but things don't always work out as well as they did for McCarthy. His story is incredible, and if you only read one thing today, make it this ESPN Magazine piece on him.
- Meanwhile, if you only listen to one thing today (outside your boss or wife, I suppose), it should be the Rays Prospects podcast. Kevin and Scott have Kevin Goldstein on as a guest this week, and there's a ton of great prospect-talk.
- Over at Rays Digest, John put up some notes this weekend from early spring training. There are some classic Maddon quotes in there, but the note on J.P. Howell at the end really caught my eye. "I can actually repeat a pitch, and that's what I couldn't do all last year." Good sign, I guess?
- Ryan Zimmerman signed a six year, $100 million contract extension with the Washington Nationals this weekend, and it seems like there's no consensus on if it's a good or bad deal. Dave Cameron likes it, Tom Tango thinks it won't quite work out. The contract won't start up until his current deal runs out (and there are two seasons still to go), so there's certainly plenty of risk involved, but Zimmerman is still one of the top young third basemen in baseball. At least he'll give the Nationals something to build around for a long time coming.