We’ve all seen the videos on YouTube — drunken fans shouting at each other, escalating into punches being thrown. The latest video going around a few weeks ago was of a young woman in a Red Sox hat getting into it with Yankees fans at the Stadium. (I won’t delve into the fact that the Yankees were playing Detroit, so why wear a Boston hat; you should, in theory, be able to wear any team’s hat without risking bodily harm at a ballpark.)
The girl in the Boston hat was being taunted throughout the game before she had enough and confronted the group of fans. Some pushing ensued and she fell three rows down, hitting her head. (Luckily she seemed not to sustain any serious injuries.) Lots of beer was thrown and spilled during the altercation, so my guess is everyone had imbibed just a little bit. Would this whole incident have happened if those involved weren’t drinking? Maybe. Maybe not. But you have to think all those $10 Bud Lights helped loosen inhibitions best left tethered.
It’s time for MLB to ban booze in ballparks. I’m not talking about ending sales after the 7th inning or only allowing each person to buy two beers. These restrictions do help curb post-game DUIs, but they do nothing to improve the environment at the game itself.
I mean no alcohol at all in major league ballparks. Instead of giving lip service to being family friendly, MLB could put its money where its mouth is. Yeah, there will be some people who show up already smashed, but while security is going through bags to make sure we don’t have weapons of mass destruction hidden in our make-up cases, they could deny entry to anyone who seems too drunk (the airlines do it all the time). Security is already making fans trash their contraband water at the gate, so they can easily check for contraband booze.
It’s not going to stop all bad behavior. Part of that is the price of just about everything at MLB ballparks. (Seriously, $5 for a bottle of water and you won’t even let me keep the cap?) With high prices come high expectations, and when the product on the field is not perceived to be up to those prices, fans are inclined to get antsy. But my guess is that banning booze will cut down on friendly ribbing that turns into an all-out battle.
I know it’s never going to happen. There is just way too much money to be made on over-priced domestic piss water. But it would be interesting to try it at a ballpark or two and see how it works. Perhaps at Arlington where the Texas Rangers have celebrated their postseason series wins with ginger ale out of respect for Josh Hamilton‘s battle with alcohol and drug addiction. Let the fans really be witness to something miraculous: A ballpark full of sober people.