Major League Baseball fans and probably many other people are familiar with the beating of Bryan Stow on Opening Night of this year in Los Angeles. Basically, some vicious people, “Dodgers fans” came at him, a Giants fan, from behind and beat him savagely. The story is really beyond terrible.
This weekend, there was a shooting outside Candlestick Park in San Francisco after a Raiders/Niners game and it drew immediate comparisons to the Stow case, although there are some obvious and major differences. You can read about it here.
What it all comes down to, though, is fan-on-fan violence. I don’t think as a trend it’s necessarily growing (there have always been fights outside of games), but the attention on it certainly is. I can’t quite pinpoint why, but I would guess it has to do with a growing diversity in sports fans (hey, people like me!) and that a lot of people really want to go to games without lots of rowdiness, let alone these fights or beatings.
Call me what you will for saying this, but to me going to a ballgame is like going to the movie theatre or a play or a concert. At none of those events do I think selling alcohol really makes sense. I remember being struck by reading a tweet from someone who was going to an important game with his favorite team and he said he wasn’t going to be drinking because he wanted to remember this one. I choked when I read that. Does that mean that some percentage of people routinely drink so much at sporting events that they don’t remember it? Probably yes.
That makes me sad. That makes me very, very sad.
Now I do know that there are plenty of people who just want to be able to get a beer and leave it at that. And I understand that. I guess I just have to ask, Would it be that much worse if you got a soda instead?
I mean, take it from the drunk driving perspective. There have been times walking back to the parking lot with a crowd where I’ve questioned my sanity at getting on the road with these people. I don’t know any stats on accidents after games, but I would guess there’s something there. The bottom line is that drunk people = impaired people = potential for a whole host of problems.
It’s a culture, really, but I think at this point it’s a culture that is destructive and does not make sense. On the Giants radio station, a good half of all the sponsorships are from beer companies. So when they then give a line about drinking responsibly or getting a designated driver, I have to roll my eyes a little bit.
Which brings me to my main point… what if they really just stopped selling alcohol at baseball games or football games or any other sporting events? What if Minute Maid Park was the norm instead of Coors Field? I’m sure the stadiums would argue that right now they can control the issue with stopping the sale of beer after the seventh inning and whatever, but the fact is that isn’t working. Whenever you outlaw something you unwittingly, perhaps, create a black market of people sneaking in their own, but I think they could deal with that too, if they wanted to.
I can hear a million voices that would disagree with what I’m saying but I just think the negatives far outweigh the positives in this situation.
Not to mention that I do not like that my shoes smell like cheap beer for days after I go to a game.