Boozin' in the Big Leagues -- The Dangers of MLB's New Alcohol Cut-Off
The pitch clock, arguably the most notable addition to the MLB in 2023, has already had an immediate impact on the pace of play – that is, 30 whole minutes of improvement.
According to Joe Pompliano, with the duration of MLB games being much shorter than in years past, concessions and beer sales have plummeted proportionately. Depending on the ballpark, beer sales are estimated to drop anywhere from $280,000 to $1,200,000 over the course of the MLB season.
In the past, to prioritize the health and safety of the fans and other people on the road, all 32 teams agreed to not sell alcohol beyond the seventh inning. However, as teams have begun to notice a significant drop in sales, certain organizations like the Brewers, Rangers, and Orioles have extended the once intransigent deadline to the eighth inning.
Pompliano reports that other teams are likely to do the same in the near future.
So, what’s the big deal?
On a recent episode of the “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast, Phillies’ pitcher Matt Strahm questioned this recent change:
"with a faster-pace game -- and me just being a man of common sense -- if the game is going to finish quicker, would we not move the beer sales back to the sixth inning to give our fans time to sober up and drive home?"
Surprisingly, Strahm was one of few players to actually speak on the issue. Sure, the “boozer” fans of the baseball world probably love this cut-off extension, but the innocent mother on the road at 11pm with her 1-year-old child in the backseat might feel otherwise.
Strahm alluded to that type of mother-child scenario, arguing that the owners and operators of the MLB prioritize their own pockets more than their fans’ lives. He said, bluntly, “I'm not suprised... when you mess with billionaires' dollars, [they] find a way to make their dollars back. My thing is, when you're looking at the safety of your fans, that's probably not the smartest decision..."
Brewers' president of business operations, Rick Schlesinger, addressed his decision to push the cut-off forward an inning in Milwaukee:
From a time perspective, we're probably looking at selling beer for the same amount of time by extending to the eight inning [compared t0] last year [when we sold beer] through the seventh."
This guy is a moron. He thinks he's clever. Schlesinger makes the argument that by selling beer for the same amount of time as last year, there will be no change in the probability of a post-game accident caused by a fan who purchased beer at the stadium just minutes prior.
I know the cheese head-wearing fans in Milwaukee love their beer, but this absurd.
Barring the fact that Schlesinger genuinely believes the nonsense he spewed to MLB.com, the Brewers' president of business operations just attempted to convince the baseball world that it does not matter "when" fans purchase and consume their alcohol in relation to the game's end, but rather that teams sell their alcohol in a given timespan completely independent of the game's length.
In other words, if MLB games were condensed another 15-20 minutes, Schlesinger would be in favor of extending the cut-off to the ninth inning, meaning there would be no cut-off for beer sales.
Ironically, the Brewers were the first team to extend the cut-off to the eighth inning after transferring the naming rights of their ballpark from Miller Brewing Company to American Family Insurance.
Don't worry baseball fans, the once "Miller Park" is now "American Family Field" -- a family-friendly, alcohol-encouraged, bottomless beer bonanza of a safe haven for fans of all ages.
Stay safe, folks.