9 Innings of Drinking: A Breakdown

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Is there any sport as enjoyable to attend and drink at than baseball? No other sport lends itself to excessive alcoholic consumption quite like America’s pastime. In fact, that may be part of the reason that it’s America’s pastime. After all, baseball players of the 19th century, the pioneers of the game, were notorious, dedicated, and frankly admirable alcoholics. Well, except for Boston catcher Marty Bergen. He got drunk and murdered his family with an axe. That guy had some demons… we don’t like to talk about Marty.

Before hoards of commenters roar about what they assume is my egregious oversight and pound their all caps rebuttals into their keyboard, calling me an “NF THUMB UP YOUR ASS COMMUNIST DICK SUCK” for not bestowing that title to college football, carefully reread what I wrote. “Is there any other sport as enjoyable to attend and drink at…”

College football is absolutely the best sport to be drunk for, in fact it’s downright necessary, what with all the screaming and viciously insulting players who can’t actually hear you that is required. College football certainly tops any other sport in terms of pregame festivities as well, but this is about drinking AT the game. Unfortunately, the sport doesn’t measure up to baseball; nothing does. Also, I’ve excluded events such as horse races and golf tournaments. Don’t get me wrong, getting blacked out on mint juleps in a box at the Kentucky Derby, screaming at a horse to run faster, is about the most fun I’ve ever had.

Still, the Derby and other horse races, as well as golf tournaments, are as much, if not more so, parties than they are purely sporting events. Baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and I guess soccer, are “game first” events. NASCAR occupies a grey area in between the two, but we’ll include it if only because it gives baseball its closest competition.

Baseball, however, is still my favorite sport to drink at. I’ve gotten drunk in basically every type of baseball environment imaginable. I’ve done Opening Day, been to mid-July games where it’s so hot the weather tests your endurance and your dedication to alcoholism by forcing you to choose whether to drink water or an “ICE COLD BUDWEISAAHHH,” as the kindly, quasi-homeless beer vendor would say. I’ve gotten drunk through extended rain delays, including this Braves-Cardinals game, at which a thunderstorm and a monsoon had a baby in the sky, and violently showered the then sparkly new Busch Stadium with its afterbirth.

I was prepared to start looting the stadium bars if the storm got any worse.

I’ve gotten drunk at Game 7 of the World Series. I’ve been hammered in suites, blacked out in the bleachers and at the stadium bar. Drinking at baseball games is one of my personal favorite pastimes, and what follows is a timeline of how that tends to go, broken down into the three scenarios the TFM audience is most likely to find themselves in when imbibing at a baseball game.

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Pre-Game/First Inning

Underage

Probably not in the stadium by the time the game starts. Whomever I was going to the game with and I likely arrived with plenty of time to spare, but instead of catching the first pitch we were still at the car, shotgunning as many beers as we could. This is of course after we played “car-tender” and pounded road beers the entire trip to the stadium. Obviously, the point was that we wanted to be as drunk as possible before going into the game, just in case getting booze turned out to be tough. Even with a Fake ID, a baseball stadium can be a tricky place to drink. It’s not so much difficult as it is inconsistent. You never know who will and won’t serve you, though the beer vendors roaming the stands were almost always the best bet.

Another reason to drink as much as possible before the game was that at this point I was a broke college kid who really didn’t want to spend $70 on seven beers. It doesn’t seem right that beer is that expensive when you’re in a stadium named after the world’s greatest cheap beer (Busch), and the world’s largest brewery is literally a five-minute drive south. That desire to not spend an amount of money that would have gotten me drunk for five full days in college all in one three hour sitting also meant that my friends and I were probably sneaking in booze, usually whiskey. Combine that with lemonade or Coke or if you could find a concession stand with it, Ginger Ale, and things were looking good.

Over 21

Depends on how much time there is to kill before the game, but the pre-game varies when you’re over 21. There’s a chance my friends and I just went to a bar downtown and then walked to the stadium or tailgated. If that happened…we might be blackout. God help any families sitting near us. It’s going to be a long game for them. Though to be fair, it probably would have been regardless.

In the stadium, a round of beers are purchased and casually consumed. It will probably be the only “casually consumed” drink of the entire day/night, because those bad boys start going down fast after the first inning.

Suite

Get there as soon as humanly possible. Everything is free and demanding to be consumed. There is a scorched earth policy on all alcoholic beverages in the suite.

Innings 2 – 4

Underage

Drunk. Far drunker than any respectable person should be by the third inning. There’s a chance the pitcher has gotten out of an inning having thrown fewer pitches than you took pulls off your whiskey drink in that same timespan. Someone in your group is screaming every time there’s a fly ball, confusing it for a homerun. “OH HE GOT THAT ONE!” the blacked out 20-year-old will scream before leaning over and drunkenly failing at an awkward high five with the little kid sitting next to him. That kid’s parents will give a look that screams, “Don’t touch my child you fucking psychopath.”

By the end of the fourth you realize how drunk you are and do the responsible thing: switch to beer…for a little while.

Over 21

You’ve already spent $40 dollars. If you brought a girlfriend/date, make it $60 to $80 depending on how hungry she’s feeling. If you’re like me then you’ve got a good buzz going, but aren’t fully drunk yet. In my case that means I’m talking out of my ass about sabremetrics I barely understand and calling what pitch the pitcher should throw next. Yeah, I suck, I know.

Also, because you and your friends are only buzzed, which means you’re all jovial and charming to that point, everyone sitting around you thinks you’re a blast. That won’t continue.

Suite

God knows how many beers you’ve had, but you probably aren’t that drunk yet because you’ve also taken advantage of the glorious food situation in front of you. For me, that means I constructed the most elaborate nachos and/or hot dog known to man, combining basically most of what the suite has to offer. Why yes, I will put pulled pork, chicken tenders, and ground beef on these tortilla chips before smothering them in nacho cheese. A side of toasted ravioli? Don’t mind if I do.

After consuming 2,000 calories of ballpark food, it’s back to pounding booze.

Innings 5 – 6

Underage

Your attempt to be responsible by switching to beer has backfired. You just bought three 20oz’ers in an inning and half and you’re nearing blackout levels of intoxication. What’s worse is that you’re at the point where you REALLY don’t want to stop drinking, but don’t want to buy more overpriced beer either, so you switch back to whiskey. You have at least stopped heckling the opposing team and commenting loudly on the game, but only because you have no idea what’s going on anymore. The chance that a sharply hit foul ball kills you has multiplied by five.

Over 21

Between booze and food, you might be over $100 at this point, but you’re too drunk to care. Once the sixth inning starts, beer vendors start reminding you that they’re done serving after the seventh inning. A sense of urgency overcomes you. You order a beer, drink it as fast as you can and order another. The people around you who used to think your group was funny are now trying their hardest to ignore you, which is easier said than done, since your group is now in the same state the underage drinkers were in the fourth inning, that being screaming at fly balls, high fiving little kids whose parents are praying to God their children don’t think you’re cool (but they do, and one day they’ll be you, and you’ll be the parents, and your kids will think they’re cool, it’s the circle of alcoholic life).

Suite

You’re drunk and feel superior to everyone sitting below you. Someone in your group MIGHT have puked in the private bathroom, because a giant meal combined with the all that beer tends to have consequences like that.

Inning 7

Underage

The people around you are relieved that the stadium can no longer serve you alcohol. Little do they know you have plenty left. You sip your whiskey drink and try to casually ask the person sitting next to you when your team pulled their starter. They inform you he was relieved two innings ago.

Over 21

DRINK! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DRINK EVERYTHING YOU CAN! DO NOT STOP!

The people around you are relieved that the stadium can no longer serve you alcohol.

Suite

You’re pretty hammered now. You’ve probably tried to bring girls up to your suite despite the fact that they didn’t have tickets. This of course led to a drunken argument with a stadium attendant. After the attendant threatened to not let you back in to your precious suite the girls become dead to you/you tell them you’ll meet them after the game.

You go back to your suite and laugh at everyone below scrambling to get one more beer. You drink on, unrestrained.

Innings 8 – 9

Underage

If you haven’t been kicked out yet for not even trying to hide the fact that you’ve been pouring whiskey into your drink, then you should probably just leave before the game ends. You aren’t going to be doing well with exiting crowds, and at this point you probably couldn’t tell the difference between Albert Pujols and Marco Scutaro. Shit, you probably can’t tell the difference between Paul Konerko and Michael Bourn. You’re a drunk asshole. Don’t stay just to be a “good fan.” You’re not. You’re the worst fan in the stadium.

Over 21

This is probably the most you’ve paid attention to the game the entire time you’ve been there, as you no longer have anything else to distract you. If it’s a close game you’ll be genuinely intrigued and watch with interest. If it’s not, and you’re watching your team’s bullpen mop up crew fan lackadaisical hitters, it’s time to hit the stadium bar, or just go back downtown and continue your drinking elsewhere.

Suite

DRINK! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DRINK EVERYTHING YOU CAN! DO NOT STOP!

By this point the beer might be gone, but it doesn’t matter. You’re shamelessly pounding wine or gin or whatever hasn’t already been eradicated by your nine-inning binge. Stay classy.

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