I'm a Blue Jays fan (their embarrassing sweep by the Athletics notwithstanding), I’ve seen three games thus far this young season and I intend to see many, many more before the fall. And I understand the problems Jays CEO Paul Godfrey is taking about here:
The chairman and chief executive officer of the major league club was reviewing the public-relations wreckage of two fight-filled nights in the stands - and tightening a zero-tolerance policy for illicit booze and brawling…
But on two occasions at the Rogers Centre in this young season, what may have started as a party in the stands degenerated into an ugly, scrappy disturbance. Each time about 100 rowdies were ejected.
"The entertainment is supposed to be on the field, not the stands," he said.
Indeed. I was at the home opener, I usually sit in the 500 level, and I saw some of this behaviour. I was also at Tuesday’s game, and saw the brawls as well, although they were on the other side of the stadium. On my side, while I had a bunch of inebriated college-types they confined themselves to really annoying taunts they thought were pretty clever. Can’t say I agreed, but no biggie.
It’s the booze though, says Godfrey. Probably. Tuesday’s game was part of the team’s Twoonie-Tuesdays promotion, where tickets in the upper bowl go for $2. Godfrey says the Jays are going to stop serving the booze in the upper bowl, and may scrap the $2 Tuesdays all together. They say they’re also going to crack down on stopping fans from bringing booze into the stadium.
The crackdown on booze smuggling makes sense, although one wonders why they weren’t doing that already? I’ll note though, despite Godfrey’s badmouthing of the fans in the cheapseats, the only time in my 50+ Jays game over three years I’ve seen fans with outside booze at a game, it was two suit-wearing Bay Street douchebags in $50 seats in the 100 level, not in the 500.
Banning alcohol sales isn’t the answer. And I say that as someone that doesn’t even drink at the ballpark. I don’t like beer, and it doesn’t seem like a wine sipping activity. But the link to the booze sales, $2 Tuesdays and rowdiness is somewhat tenuous to me. First of all, the tickets may the $2, the beers are not. Regular price on those tickets is about $10. So, you’re saving $8. That MIGHT be enough for one small beer, I haven’t checked lately. If someone can afford to get drunk on $10 beers, the ticket price isn’t a barrier for them.
The fact is, they’re probably coming drunk. So, in addition to cracking-down on booze smuggling, make like an airline and don’t admit intoxicated fans to the stadium in the first place. Most of the annoying taunters in my section Tuesday came pre-inebriated. I’m sure the rowdy fighters did too. And when it comes to alcohol sales, limit sales to one beer at a time, insist on ID and don’t sell to the underage, even if they are attractive young ladies.
Then there’s this gem from Godfrey:
The sudden surge in drunkenness and fighting in the cheap seats at Toronto Blue Jays games may be a YouTube phenomenon, with rowdy, attention-starved fans filming themselves and posting the videos on the Internet site, Paul Godfrey says.
…"Some people go, film their experiences and then call out to friends and unknowns alike to come down and join their party."
Really, its YouTube’s fault? I wonder if YouTube will be replacing video games as the source of all of society’s ills. It’s an interesting theory Paul, but drunken idiots fought at sporting events before online video sharing, that hasn’t changed.
Anyway, forget all this attention to drunken rowdy fans. Why in the hell do the Jays play great against top teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, and then tank against teams like the Athletics? That’s the question we should be wondering about. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers