April 13, 2023
Major league games are moving way faster now with the implementation of the pitch clock, which, inadvertently, is making last call at ballparks arrive sooner.
To compensate for the sudden loss in beer sales early into the season, some clubs – such as the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Twins, and Brewers – have extended their last call out of the usual seventh inning and into the eighth.
But to Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm, that idea seems really ill-advised. With a faster game now, the cutoff needs to be moved up, not back if anything.
Said Strahm on the Baseball Isn't Boring podcast (via ESPN):
"The reason we stopped [selling alcohol in] the seventh before was to give our fans time to sober up and drive home safe, correct?...So now 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?
"Instead, we're going to the eighth, and now you're putting our fans and our family at risk driving home with people who have just drank beers 22 minutes ago."
So far, the average time of MLB games has been cut down by about a half hour as a result of 2023's rule changes.
MLB doesn't have league-wide rules or regulations for when ballparks need to stop alcohol sales, but generally, last call is made in the seventh inning, which has been the Phillies' policy at Citizens Bank Park.
It isn't an air-tight one, however. Pass and Stow at the third-base gate, for example, operates on its own schedule, and so does Xfinity Live across the street, which many fans often funnel into postgame.
It's a problem where any answer can easily be met with a list of "yeah buts," and in terms of revenue, it's one that clubs didn't seem to anticipate.
Now, depending on what each one decides to do, it'll be a situation too where fans and ballpark staff might be forced to navigate it along with them.
"I'm not surprised," Strahm said on the podcast. "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 to extend it into the eighth."
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