Alcohol Banned in Cards Clubhouse After Pitcher's DWI Death
The St. Louis Cardinals play in Busch Stadium, and the facility is adorned with Budweiser ads, but you'll no longer find beer — or any other alcohol — in the team's clubhouse.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported May 6 that the Cardinals banned alcohol from the clubhouse and on team flights days after pitcher Josh Hancock died in an alcohol-related car crash. Hancock's blood-alcohol limit was more than twice the legal limit when he smashed into a parked tow truck on I-64.
Team president Mark Lamping, a former Anheuser-Busch executive, said the ban represented “a very visible reminder to the players. If it accomplishes anything, it is a reminder that they're responsible for their behavior. I think it will pay more dividends in creating awareness of proper behavior than in eliminating a specific problem.”
Team officials said that the ban was not a reflection on the past behavior of team members. “As I told the players, this is no way reflects on the way they've conducted themselves,” said president Walt Jocketty. “We've never had a problem on an incoming flight or with someone leaving the clubhouse. But it's something we felt we had to do. Some guys were unhappy with it. And I understand that.”
The Cardinals, the defending World Series champs, see the ban partly as a message to the public and partly as a hedge against potential liability if a player causes an injury or death after drinking on company property and driving. The ban already is having a trickle-down effect on other baseball teams, which are reviewing their own alcohol policies.
While some players complained about the ban, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, a nondrinker, endorsed the move and wondered if it should be extended to the fans in the stands. “I think guys who are going to drink their beer or drink their wine are still going to do it when they go to dinner or whatever,” Pujols said. “But I think we should be examples.”