Friday, July 16, 2010

Adios bleachers

Last night I got a chance to sit in the bleachers for the first time this season…and it just happened to be the last time I ever sit out there.

Was there a fight? No. Just a bunch of drunk, annoying 20 somethings who paid absolutely no attention to the game on the field. If the people in the main grandstands cheered, I had 2 dozen people asking “what happened?” Well…maybe if you watched the damn game, you’d know what happened.

And, no I wasn’t in the traditional “rowdy” sections…the lower parts of left or right field. I was in the supposedly more tranquil part in upper center field.

As far as I’m concerned now, they can rip the entire bleacher section out of the ballpark and install it on the middle of some college campus and sell tickets for 81 days a year at $60 a pop for a frat party, and sell all the beer they want. And you know what? The people that would go won’t know the difference.

Can the problem be fixed? Yes it can…and it can be done in some simple ways too.

First…stop selling beer after the 5th inning. Sounds harsh, but I can guarantee that you would still have a hard time finding a person over the age of 18 that is sitting out there that would be sober enough to drive a car after 4 ‘dry’ innings. But this would help alleviate this problem a bit. It would also dissuade these jack-asses from buying tickets in the first place.

Second…one customer…one beer. Stop letting people purchase multiple beers at a time. No explanation necessary.

Third, increase the number of true security people (or get some police officers) in the bleachers. There are “ushers” down every aisle, but the truth is, these people are physically incapable of handling the crowds in the bleachers and are often overwhelmed. If the current ‘security’ asks someone to sit or to stop standing in the aisle, they are laughed at or completely ignored. Have people visibly see that bad behavior is not tolerated by having true security officers or uniformed police officers out there. The old Yankee Stadium had cops in the bleachers (not sure about the new one) and Philadelphia has cops in the stands as well. Right now, Cubs fans are acting much worse than the fans of those team, so why doesn’t Wrigley have the same?

Fourth, end Bud Light’s sponsorship of the bleachers and then reduce the number of places beer can be purchased in the bleachers. (Basically, stop promoting the bleachers as a beer garden.)

And, finally, if you really want to get extreme…here is something I would consider for primarily night games…require ticket holders to pass a breathalyzer test before entering the ballpark. One of the problems with night games is that the morons in the bleachers are already drunk by the time they stumble to their seats because they’ve been drinking since 3pm. The Cubs should consider these people as risks and not allow them in the ballpark.

Do I sound like an 80 year old grumpy man here? Yes…but it is the truth, and it is something that is harming the Cubs culture. I have sat out in the Bleachers a lot over the years, but I have only been out there a handful of times in the last 5 years…but I can tell you, things have changed. This isn’t supposed to be what the Wrigley experience is supposed to be. My father took me out there when I was a kid including one time in 1983 when my family sat in center field and Bill Veeck came up (with his wood peg-leg) and sat right in front of us. Now? I would never take my kids out there after what I saw last night.

So…that’s that. For such a good game against a good team last night, I had one of my most miserable games ever experienced at Wrigley Field.

Adios, bleachers.