October 13, 2011
As he explained to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post on Wednesday, McKeon quickly dropped the hammer on any clubhouse chicanery by making sure his guys simply couldn't get in.
"I said, 'Hey, I got no rule against going up if you have to go to the bathroom or something, but get back.' A couple of times I looked down the bench to talk to somebody and they weren't there. They were in the clubhouse. So I went up and got them out and said, 'OK, boys that's it. We'll lock the door.'"
After chasing Beckett and Penny out of the clubhouse (with a bat in hand, he claims), McKeon then channeled his inner elementary school teacher. Anyone who needed to use the clubhouse for No. 1 or No. 2 had to get a bathroom pass — or as McKeon called them, "poo-poo cards and pee-pee cards" — from the manager. Needing permission to leave the dugout squashed any sneaking off.
Obviously, the situations with the 2003 Marlins and 2011 Red Sox are completely different. McKeon was an old-school type asserting his authority while trying to instill some good habits in his younger players who had yet to come into a lot of money. Francona is more of a player's manager who trusted his high-paid veterans to lead themselves, only to ultimately be tuned out.
Here's a great idea, though: Maybe Theo Epstein's replacement in Boston can bring on McKeon as a consultant next season. When the players get out of hand, lock up the clubhouse and bring out the poo-poo and pee-pee cards. See if they blow another nine-game wild-card lead then.