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Beer, Boston, and PR: Baseball's Trio of Evil?
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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"Baseball needs beer, and beer needs baseball — it has always been thus."

Noted journalist and New York Times best-selling author Peter Richmond penned that sentiment. And while I don't particularly agree about this marriage made in a microbrewery, I applaud the effort discussing the great game and the byproduct of those amber waves of grain. Without it, I just wouldn't have a feasible segue for this story about the Boston Red Sox and an alleged PR stunt to ban the brew in the clubhouse at Fenway. 

No, really. At least that's what former manager Terry Francona called it on ESPNBoston.com

"I think it's a PR move," Francona, now an ESPN analyst, said Monday morning on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" show. "I think if a guy wants a beer, he can probably get one. You know, it's kind of the old rule...if your coach in football says no liquor on the plane — I mean, you serve beer and wine — somebody's going to sneak liquor on the plane."

PR is responsible for stopping players drinking beer...while playing baseball? Yeah, I would agree. Being a lifelong baseball fanatic, I can see how making sure players who are 90 feet away from a four-inch sphere coming at them doing close 95 miles per hour would need some hidden PR strategy to keep them from guzzling a refreshment that would slow their reflexes and prevent said blazing bullet of death from knocking the crap out of them.

But wait, there's more: 

"I don't think it's a surprise that they [the Red Sox] put this in effect, or the fact they announced it," Francona said of the alcohol ban. "It's probably more of a PR move just because, you know, the Red Sox (took) such a beating at the end of the year." 

Being the Texas Rangers aficionado that I am, the beating in question was a whipping I thoroughly enjoyed. However, to call banning beer from the players who were on the receiving end of that much-deserved trouncing is about as intelligent as anything that comes from the Twitter account of a Kardashian. And to agree with me is a man who is no stranger to my beloved Rangers, former Texas manager and current Boston manager Bobby Valentine — as noted on MassLive.com

"How is it PR?" Valentine asked after the team's Monday workout. "That means like 20 teams are looking for PR and that's why they're making good decisions?" 

"Remember you get paid over there for saying stuff," said Valentine, who had been an analyst at ESPN before essentially switching jobs with Francona. "You get paid over here for doing stuff." 

Advantage: Valentine. Besides, what would you expect from a guy who at one time owned one of the biggest bars around the Rangers' hometown in Arlington?

That's not PR. That's business.


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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