Teams throughout baseball have changed or are mulling changes in their clubhouse alcohol policies following the death of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock. And the Milwaukee Brewers are among teams who looked at their policy and decided no change was needed.
The Brewers said Wednesday they will continue to allow beer in their clubhouse during home and away games.
Pitcher Chris Capuano, the Brewers' representative to the players association, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the decision was consistent with the way the club treats its players.
"For the most part they treat us like adults. There's no curfew on the road. You're expected to handle yourself professionally," he told the newspaper. "Guys are not going to sit in the clubhouse and drink four and five beers and then drive. We would never do anything like that. But it's nice if a guy wants to have a beer after a game that the team is OK with it."
Alcohol played a role in Hancock's death in a one-car accident, as an autopsy showed he was over the legal blood-alcohol content limit of .08 at the time his rented SUV crashed into a parked flatbed tow truck on a St. Louis-area interstate highway. He had been seen earlier that evening drinking at a bar in St. Louis.
Following his death, the Cardinals banned alcohol in their clubhouse, the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees extended their home clubhouse bans on alcohol to visiting clubhouses, and several clubs said they were examining their clubhouse alcohol policies.
Other clubs that have standing no-alcohol policies in their clubhouses or recently instituted one: Baltimore, Detroit, Minnesota, Toronto, the Cubs, Florida, Houston, the Mets, Pittsburgh and Washington.
The Brewers have special reason to be sensitive about alcohol issues. The team is named for the city's brewing heritage and honors that history down to the sprig of barley underscoring the script "M" on its hats.
Several years ago, the team ended the practice of its lederhosen-clad mascot, Bernie Brewer, descending a giant slide into an oversized mug of beer after Brewers home runs.
The club is in the second year of a seven-year marketing and promotions agreement with Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Co., which paid $41.2 million to put its name on the Brewers' stadium through 2019.
Julian Green, a Miller Brewing spokesman, told the Journal-Sentinel that the company is not involved in stadium operations at Miller Park, and was not consulted about the clubhouse decision.
After Thursday's 3-1 victory over Washington, the Brewers assured themselves of having the best record in baseball (24-10) for a fifth straight day.