Whether it was a jab at the Red Sox, or he was just reaffirming what everyone already knows, Rays manager Joe Maddon turned a few heads on Sunday.
"We’re not the Boston Red Sox," Maddon said, according to the Tampa Bay Times, when asked about banning beer from the Rays clubhouse.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has banned alcohol from the Boston clubhouse, in addition to prohibiting alcohol consumption on return flights. This comes on the heels of reports that players drank beer and ate fried chicken during last year’s late-season collapse.
Maddon is taking a different approach with his club, though, feeling that players should be able to drink alcohol after a game if they so choose.
"I’ve said it a hundred times. For me at the end of the day, I’d much prefer our players making good decisions, and if you’re of legal age, and the game is over, and you’ve sweated and lost a bunch of pounds and you want to sit down and have a beer, I see nothing wrong with that," Maddon said.
The Rays reportedly allow alcohol consumption on flights during road trips, although — like the Red Sox — they’ve banned it on return flights with the idea that players will then be getting into their cars to drive home after landing.
Maddon was also asked about fried chicken.
"Depends if that’s what they’re serving that night," Maddon said. "It kind of goes well with it actually.”
Could Maddon be attempting to get under the skin of the Red Sox in advance of what should be another competitive season in the AL East? Maybe. But the Rays skipper is known for his unique personality and honest nature, so one could also chalk it up to him trying to keep his players loose.