ESPN News Services2 minutes to read
Many baseball teams have adjusted their liquor sales policies in response to shorter playing times this season, and at least one player hasn’t been excited about the change.
Phillies player Matt Strahm said during a recent podcast that he disagrees with extending alcohol sales beyond the traditional seventh limit, citing “common sense” and “fan safety.”
The reason we stopped [selling alcohol in] The seventh before that was to give our fans enough time to wake up and go home safely, right? ” “Baseball Isn’t Boring” Podcast. So now with a faster-paced game—and I’m just a guy with common sense—if the game’s going to be over faster, aren’t we bringing beer sales back into the sixth inning to give our fans enough time to get up and drive home?
“Instead we’re going to go eighth, and now you’re putting our fans and family in danger driving home with people who just drank beer 22 minutes ago.”
Major League Baseball games have been considerably shorter this season, thanks in large part to a series of rule changes, particularly the pitch clock. During the first week and a half of the season, average playing time dropped 31 minutes, on track to be the lowest for the sport since 1984.
To combat this time crunch, at least four teams—the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Twins, and Brewers—have expanded alcohol sales to the eighth inning. Others, like the Marlins and Mets, still stop after the seventh inning but haven’t ruled out changes.
The Orioles actually sold alcohol during the eighth inning, or until 3 1/2 hours after the first pitch, whichever came first.
“I’m not surprised,” said Stram. “When you mess with billionaires’ money, [they] Find a way to get their dollars back. The thing I see is, when you look at the safety of your fans, it probably isn’t the smartest decision to extend it to number eight.”
Yankees linebacker Michael King said he believes “there is a responsibility on everyone” to prevent drunk driving, “regardless of whether you serve in the seventh or eighth inning.”
MLB does not regulate when teams sell alcohol, but most franchises have used the seventh inning as a cutoff, at least in part to avoid overhandling customers who can then get in their cars and go home. However, most teams already had areas around the stadium where fans could get alcohol after the seventh, even if the concession stands stopped fielding.
“Nobody wants to admit they’re wrong,” said Strahm, “and I think that’s a problem in and of itself for our society.” “But it is what it is. We have to deal with what we’ve been given.
“But just using common sense: We stopped her in the seventh for the safety of the fans and the people going home. Like, it doesn’t make sense to me that you would let her in the eighth.”
Information from the Associated Press is used in this report.
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