It’s time to start shooting people to death in the bleachers.
Apparently, people have started to drink alcoholic beverages in the Wrigley Field bleachers. Some of them drink so much that they vomit on themselves. Some of them try to pee in cups and miss most of the cup.
This would all be news. If this were 1954.
We’re all Cubs fans here. We’ve all been to Wrigley, and the vast majority of us have sat in the bleachers from time to time. We’ve all seen drunken assholes in the bleachers. Hell, most of us have been the drunken assholes.
Here’s a little tip that might come in handy. Don’t sit in the bleachers. It’s a terrible place to watch a game, and it’s been a terrible place to watch a game, forever.
Only at Wrigley would the worst seats in the place be the most in-demand. Only at Wrigley could they charge $40 (at the cheapest) to sit on a backless bench at least 400 feet away from where the majority of the action at a baseball game is.
Are there benefits to sitting in the bleachers? Of course there are. Let’s list some of them.
- Pretty girls like to sit in the bleachers, and when it’s warm they don’t wear very much, and sometimes, that not very much falls off. Winners are us!
- Cell phone reception is awesome in the bleachers. How do I know this? Because 70 percent of the douches sitting in the bleachers never get off of theirs.
- There are imaginary replay boards ringing the back of the bleachers. At least I assume there are, since at any given time you can see hundreds of morans standing with their backs to the field. They must be the ones Blair Kamin is so worried about when he decries that the Toyota sign will ruin people’s views “out of” the ballpark.
- If you’re having a party and you all want to go to the game, if you get bleacher tickets you can all sit in a big clump, and drink, and throw up on yourselves, and get in a fight. Win, win, win!
- If you sit in the left field corner you can find a wise old man who always sits in the same spot, just as far away from the game as he can get, where he can bitch and moan about the behavior of others. I feel so bad for him that the Cubs won’t sell him season tickets anywhere else.
Are there problems in the bleachers? Of course there are. People really do go there to get really drunk. Just like people go to concerts to get really drunk, or MMA events, or wedding receptions, or funerals. If you have booze, people will drink it, and some people will drink too much of it.
So I’m not really going to mock the premise that the Wrigley bleacher fans’ behavior is a problem. What I will mock is Pollyellon’s half-assed attempt at solutions.
It’s time for the Cubs to stop this nonsense. The “drunken bleacher party” has gotten completely out of control — there are fights nearly every day — and the glorification of the drinking culture is, I believe, something new ownership of the Cubs doesn’t want and shouldn’t want. The inevitable end of this kind of behavior is going to be someone getting seriously injured, paralyzed (perhaps from falling down, being pushed, or from a fight), or killed.
Did you know there’s a drinking culture? And that it’s being glorified? Speaking of which, you can buy the third season of Mad Men on DVD for only $17.99 at Amazon. Order yours today.
And I like how he’s hopeful that “new ownership of the Cubs doesn’t want” a bunch of drunken idiots in the bleachers. But that’s not enough. Because Al insists that they also “shouldn’t want” it.
He then predicts someone will get seriously injured, paralyzed, dead or worse.
Is that what the Cubs want? Is this the reputation this franchise wants?
Didn’t he just say, one paragraph earlier that they didn’t and shouldn’t want this?
There is, to be sure, too much drunkenness and idiotic behavior at virtually every sports stadium and arena in North America (and let’s not even talk about some of the stuff that goes on in Europe), by fans of every college and professional sport. But the problems in the Wrigley Field bleachers, which have been getting worse with each passing year, are not only tolerated by management, but almost celebrated as a “party”.
Drunkenness and idiocy in North America and Europe? Wow, the World Cup in South Africa is going to blow hard, isn’t it? Maybe we can head down there and teach them how it’s done. Then? Then it’s off to Asia!
It’s not a party. It’s a baseball game, and most of us are there to watch the baseball game. We should not have our afternoon or evening ruined by drunks who, essentially, are paying a $40 or $50 cover charge to sit in bleacher seats (or worse, stand and block everyone’s view) and drink until they are plastered.
Of course the bold there is Al’s. It’s not a party. It’s a baseball game. Most people are there to watch the baseball game. Stop trying to enjoy it! This is work! Watching this shitty baseball team is punishment for something. We are not to like it, we are to sit there, (for the love of god, DO NOT STAND UP!) and watch it, unblinkingly. Then Jacob will pick one of us to guard the pretty light, and we’ll have to fight off the smoke monster for a couple of thousand years. Got it?
After the jump, I have some reasonable, sensible and easily implementable solutions to this serious problem.
I hate people who call it “the jump.” Call it what it is. A cheap way to get you to click on a link and serve some more ads. Oh, I’m not saying I don’t do it. If it were up to me you bastards would be fighting pop-up ads off like mosquitos at the lake in July.
1) End the college discount dates. For those of you who haven’t figured out this little perk, the Cubs offer half-price bleacher tickets on the value dates in April and May for college students by putting coupon codes in college newspapers. That allows a local college student to come to one of the early season weekday games for (including taxes and fees) about $17. There were hundreds of such people in the bleachers yesterday, and a lot of the problems came from them. In conjuction with this, the Cubs have been doing a good job already with cracking down on underage drinking. They have to step up these efforts — and unless the basic ages of college students has changed since I was there, most college students are under 21 and cannot legally drink. The bleachers sell out most days anyway, even without the discounts. Full price bleacher tickets for value dates this year are about $25 — which is still higher than bleacher tickets for almost any other team. They don’t need to discount them further.
You got it smart guys? No more fun of any kind!
And I like how Al blames the drinking and the fighting on college students. Its’ all their fault. It’s not the Trixies and the Chads, it’s the college kids. And Al wonders if college has changed since he went there. Just a little bit. Girls and boys can go to the same ones now, and they can have hot plates IN THEIR DORM ROOMS! It’s madness!
But the best part are the last two lines, so let’s look at them again.
Full price bleacher tickets for value dates this year are about $25 — which is still higher than bleacher tickets for almost any other team. They don’t need to discount them further.
Al is saying, in effect, that the Cubs already charge too much for bleacher seats, so the last thing they should ever do is to discount those overpriced seats!
Huh? And, doesn’t it smack of, “If you charge more for the seats, THESE KINDS OF PEOPLE won’t be able to afford them!”?
2) Hire more security. Yes, this costs money, but it is money that needs to be spent. There are 15 aisles in the bleachers — six in left field, five in right field, four in center field. From what I see out there every day, there is ONE security person assigned to each aisle — that means ONE employee watching nearly 350 fans, computed by dividing the total of 5,100 bleacher seats by 15. Some of these sections are smaller than 350, but most are larger. That’s not nearly enough security to quell problems before they begin. There are other security folks walking up and down the bleacher concourse, but (strictly a guess) I doubt there’s more than 25 people there in total. I repeat: that’s not enough! Most ballparks have one usher/employee/security person at the top and bottom of each aisle. The Wrigley bleachers should have at least that — staff out there needs to be doubled to at least 50. The current security people do a good job and have been much more proactive in heading off trouble in the last couple of years. But they are seriously outnumbered. Get them some help. It would be a good start to have them make people sit down during play — there are “fans” out there who stand up, facing each other, talking throughout play, not in the least interested in what’s going on down on the field. Why are “fans” like that even in the park?
Where the hell is Andy Frain when you really need him. This didn’t happen back in the good old days.
It does make sense that the Cubs need to hire more security, and those security need to be able to kick people out, swiftly. You know, like this…
And it’s time Al take his stand on people standing up at baseball games. That shit has to stop. You know what else? Sometimes people slap one hand with the other, repeatedly. It’s annoying. And, for god sakes, enough already with just yelling “Yay!” Can’t you people just shut up and let us suffer in silence?
3) Put police officers in the bleachers. I have not been to the new Yankee Stadium, but in the old Yankee Stadium bleachers — where I sat at least 15 times during the 1990′s and 2000′s — there were both plainclothes and uniformed NYC police officers. If you broke the rules or broke the law, one of these officers would say, “Come with me.” If it was serious enough for arrest, they’d arrest you, but on most of these occasions, they would simply escort you out. No questions, no conversation, no excuses. You were simply ejected. I think, in some ways, Wrigley security has been too nice, allowing people who misbehave to have a five-minute talk, then return to their seats. This created a buzz: “Hey, we can do anything we want!” I will give security credit for this: this season, they have been very proactive about not allowing people into the bleachers at all if they seem obviously drunk outside the park. They have been told to sober up before allowed inside. A Chicago Police Department presence in the park would strongly discourage fights and other drunken behavior.
I don’t think this goes far enough. I think the Rickettses should hire the Army National Guard to rove the bleachers, and shoot and kill anyone who misbehaves. If you’re dead you can no longer misbehave. Holy shit, problem solved!
4) Reduce alcohol sales and hours and places of sale. I’m no anti-alcohol person, although I don’t drink at the park myself (I find the beer there way overpriced). There’s no reason people shouldn’t be able to have a couple of adult beverages while enjoying a baseball game. But I have seen people, more times than I can count, throw back eight, ten, twelve beers during a three-hour baseball game for no other purpose than to get stinking drunk. In a place like the bleachers, crowded, noisy, and especially on hot summer nights, you can see this is just asking for trouble.
See, here’s what you do. You allow people to buy two $12 beers, and that’s it. If they come back, the vendors will remember who they are and know not to sell them more! That’s a simple solution, with no complications. All you need to do is hire a flock of symbiots with photographic memories so they know who they already sold to and can share that information telepathically with every other beer vendor at the stadium. A six year old could have thought of this. The Cubs are idiots, right, Al?
Let me speak from experience. I drank 10 beers at a Sox-Indians game in 1994 (I’m pretty sure I actually caused the strike that year), and I was just getting warmed up. What’s my point? I have no point. Just like Al.
Currently, rules allow people two beers at a time, and sales are cut off in the 8th inning of day games, the 7th inning of night games. In the last couple of years, the Cubs made it “easier” for people to get beer by stationing vendors on the back aisle. It’s far too easy for people to get plastered. Reducing the serving hours — cutting off sales 90 minutes after game time — would be a start; eliminating these vendors and making people go to beer stands would help reduce the number of beers per person.
I agree, Al. Making it more convenient to buy beer was the Cubs way of endorsing shit-facedness. I remember back in the day when you had to go find G. Heileman himself and ask him to brew you a beer. And of course that prick would insist on kreusening the fucking thing and that would take months. You could go to every game at Wrigley in the ’50s and be lucky if you got to drink one beer in a wax cup. Those were the days. No problems in the bleachers back then. No sir.
I realize the Cubs make a lot of money on alcohol sales — it’s probably the single biggest concession profit item. But are they willing to let these profits perhaps lead to a tragic incident? It may be time to institute a per-game, per-person limit on alcohol sales. Again, there’s no reason someone shouldn’t be able to have a couple of beers during a game. But eight? Ten? That’s asking for trouble, and as we have seen, it is happening far too often.
I agree again, Al. What is wrong with the owners, it’s like they are trying to make money. Screw ‘em! Owning a team is a public trust. You should owe it to the fans to charge less than the market will bear on tickets, don’t let fans buy concession items, and encourage them to bring their own delicious balogna sandwiches. Awesome. Well said.
Incidents like these got alcohol banned in the old Yankee Stadium bleachers. The Yankees do allow beer to be brought into the bleachers at the new stadium, as seen from this 2009 ABC News report, but they’ve reserved the right to reinstate the ban if things get out of hand. I’m not suggesting a ban — just limits. It’s time to end the idea that coming to the Wrigley Field bleachers simply to have a drunken frat party is the right thing to do.
Oh, Al’s not suggesting a ban. Even though he just suggested they do what the Yankees used to do, which was a ban. And the Yankees, with a billion dollar ballpark to pay for suddenly said, “Screw it, let them buy beer.” So good point. Wow, you are good at this.
Stop the fights. Stop the drunkenness. Send out the message that it’s not a party, it’s a baseball game. You can have fun — but if you’re there just to get drunk, the Cubs need to let people know that’s not going to happen any more. These are easy steps to take and can even be done during this baseball season. Please, Cubs management. Do it before something that you don’t want headlines for happens.
I concur. It’s not a party, it’s a baseball game. More specifically it’s a Cubs’ baseball game. Nobody can come there expecting to enjoy themselves.
And if you don’t want headlines for something embarrassing, you probably shouldn’t put an $18 million starting pitcher in the bullpen or call up a 20 year old shortstop to break the land speed record to 60 errors in a season.
What the hell fun would that be?
There is no doubt that weird shit happens in the bleachers. People throw up, they shit their pants, they (gasp!) smoke marijuana, they drink too much, they throw things on the field, and they act like assholes. But if it’s so bad, why would anybody want to buy season tickets for that part of the park? (Even without the “problems,” I’ve never understood that.)
Al, it’s time you embrace your destiny. Next year, buy season tickets behind home plate and do what you were meant to. Sit there on your cellphone and wave incessantly at the camera.