Friday, June 6, 2008

A Lack of Foresight

Dollar beer night. That was my idea for a Phillies game promotion. Charge a buck a beer, only let in people 21 and older, see what happens. It worked with hot dogs, right?

Obviously, this was something I just blurted out after paying $6.75 for a beer that I spilled half of on the way back to my seat, so I did not fully understand the implications of a dollar beer night at Citizens Bank Park.

Needless to say, it would probably be absoulute mayhem.

On Dollar Dog Night, you have people competing against each other to see how many they can eat, people rushing hot dog vendors and yelling obscene things at them, and people littering the field with their dogs. Hey, it's only a buck, right?

And that's just with a hot dog, imagine something even higher in alcohol content.

Luckily, we do not have to imagine. Thanks to the 1974 Cleveland Indians, we know exactly what would happen, as they hosted a 10 cent beer night (10 cents!) that July against the Rangers.

Very brief background: The Indians sucked. Cleveland sucked. Their fans sucked. And people love booze. Here are some quotes from an article I read about the evening.

"Even though the Indians offered copious amounts of beer at cut-rate prices, a great many attendees opted to play with a handicap, arriving at their seats drunk, stoned or both."

I love the term "playing with a handicap." Can we start using that to let people know we have been pre-gaming since last Thursday?

"Through deliberate coordination or spontaneous groupthink, hundreds of fans showed up with pockets full of firecrackers."

This is absolutely hilarious, and one of the perils I never even considered with a discount beer night. Imagine if the Phillies had this promotion, and you knew about it months in advance. I'm pretty sure fireworks would be the least dangerous thing people were bringing in.

"Anonymous explosions peppered the stands from the first pitch."

Way to not waste any time.

"...lending the game a war-zone ambiance...along with clouds of exploded gunpowder and marijuana smoke."


"A few pitches later, a heavyset woman sitting near first base jumped the wall, ran to the Indians' on-deck circle, and bared her enormous, unhindered breasts."

You know, maybe this wouldn't be such a bad idea after all...

"The rain of beer became a hail of rocks, batteries, golf balls and anything not bolted down"

Ahh, batteries. If there is ever a hall of fame for projectiles, batteries have to be a first ballot, right? So simple, so small, so very painful. If I ever find myself routinely bringing batteries to sporting events, in the off-chance that J.D. Drew or John Rocker show up, I know I will have led a successful life.

In the ninth inning, things started to heat up. A fan jumped onto the field from the outfield seats and knocked the cap off one of the Rangers outfielders, who ended up tripping while trying to confront the fan.

The Rangers manager, Billy Martin, was understandably upset about one of his players being accosted.

""Let's go get 'em boys," he said, arming himself with a fungo bat and sprinting toward right-center field. The Rangers followed him."

Soon after, the 25 Rangers players quickly found themselves surrounded by 200 angry drunks.

From that point, things got out of control and I wish YouTube had been around. Basically, the Indians players all grabbed bats to go help the Rangers. There was literally a fight between the ballplayers and the fans. Athletes were hitting fans with bats, and vice versa. The ballplayers were eventually able to run away, and the fans then just started a giant riot, stealing everything on the field.

"Perhaps attempting to soothe the riotous beast, the organist then played 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame.'"

All in all, it seemed like a pretty successful promotion. The Phils don't need to do dollar beer night, they could bump it up to two or three dollars...even five would be nice.

Bottom line, I just want cheaper beer....and the chance to steal home plate, flash the umpires, and hit a few ballplayers with some batteries.

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