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Pro sports teams, eyeing vehicle crash risks, tighten alcohol rules

As mainstream society is becoming less tolerant of drinking and driving, professional baseball executives, along with officials from several other pro sports leagues, have taken notice. League administrators have certainly noted the many high-profile car accidents — sometimes fatal — of pro players over the past several years that have involved alcohol, and the league now says that it wants to set a good example for young fans and athletes by prominently advocating safety and responsibility.

Several teams have recently banned alcohol consumption in the clubhouse. This includes organizations such as the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Colorado Rockies, all of which have stadiums that are sponsored by beer companies. Teams in other sports have done the same, noting the car crash risks and potential publicity problems involved with athletes heading home after games who have been drinking. Some teams have gone as far as banning alcohol in hotels and during team flights.

Last fall, Major League Baseball considered a league-wide ban of alcohol in locker rooms and clubhouses. This is a policy that MLB is still considering, and it would obviously include Ohio’s two professional baseball teams, the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds.

Aside from the starkly serious issues of accidents in general, and their sometimes tragic — even fatal — consequences, liability is an obvious issue for pro sports teams. A crackdown on alcohol consumption is logically focused upon that, as well as on an increased accountability that pro sports franchises believe the public is seeking of them.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Baseball is moving toward alcohol-free clubhouses,” Kevin Baxter, March 19, 2012