ESPN News Services2 minute reading
Several baseball teams have revised their alcohol sales policies this season in response to reduced game times, and at least one major leaguer isn’t worried about the change.
Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm said during a recent podcast that he disagreed with extending alcohol sales beyond the traditional seventh-inning cutoff, citing “common sense” and “fan safety.”
“That’s why we stopped [selling alcohol in] An earlier seventh is just to give our fans time to relax and get home safely, right?” Strahm said. “Baseball Isn’t Boring” Podcast. “So now in a fast-paced game — and I’m a common-sense guy — if the game is going to end quickly, we don’t move beer sales back to the sixth inning to give our fans a relaxing time. Get up and drive home?
“Instead, we go into eighth place and now you’re putting our fans and our families at risk of driving home with people who had a beer 22 minutes ago.”
Major League Baseball games have been significantly shorter this season, largely due to a series of rule changes, particularly the pitch clock. In the first week and a half of the season, average playing time dropped by 31 minutes, the lowest in a game since 1984.
To combat that time crunch, at least four teams — the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Twins and Brewers — have extended alcohol sales through the eighth inning. Others, like the Marlins and Mets, stop after the seventh inning, but don’t rule out changes.
The Orioles already sold alcohol through the eighth inning or 3½ hours after the first pitch, whichever came first.
“I’m not surprised,” Strahm said. “When you mess with millionaires’ dollars, [they] Find a way to get their dollars back. My point is, when you look at the defense of your fans, extending it to the eighth is not a smart decision.”
MLB doesn’t regulate when teams sell alcohol, but most franchises used the seventh inning as a cutoff to avoid over-serving customers who could at least get in their cars and go home. However, most teams already had areas around the ballpark where fans could get alcohol after the seventh inning, even if the concession was discontinued.
“Nobody wants to admit they’re wrong, and I think that’s a problem for our society,” Strahm said. “But it is what it is, we have to deal with what we’re given.
“But just using common sense: We stopped it in the seventh for the safety of the fans and people going home. I don’t understand why you’re going to let it go into the eighth inning.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.