(Chris Singleton and Jason Varitek contest the centuries-old “less filling/tastes great” debate)
Though I am still waiting for a press release from Tom Werner, John Henry or Larry Lucchino declaring that “enough is enough” after losing two straight to Tampa Bay prior to today’s 11-3 ejection fest at Tropicana Field, perhaps we should just hold out for more stern pronouncements about fan behavior in light of Andrea Estes’ report that sudsy sales are up, up and away at Fenway Park. From Sunday’s Boston Globe.
The new owners of the Boston Red Sox have greatly expanded alcohol sales at Fenway Park, adding at least 16 new stands where beer is sold since taking over in 2001, according to the city licensing board. The team has also increased by a third the size of beer cups, from 12 ounces to 16 ounces.
The volume of beer sold at Fenway last year jumped roughly 20 percent from the year before, according to information provided by the Red Sox. Two employees of Aramark, the company that manages Fenway concessions, and a beer salesman who supplies the ballpark said they believe that since the new owners took over beer sales have increased significantly more than 20 percent.
Concerns over alcohol consumption at the ballpark have triggered complaints from some fans and Fenway neighborhood activists who say home games have become marred by rowdy behavior. The recent altercation between a fan and New York Yankees right fielder Gary Sheffield has drawn attention to a problem that some say has grown worse in recent years. Boston’s Licensing Board has scheduled a hearing with Red Sox officials May 10 to investigate alcohol-related complaints.
”I have had a number of complaints from individuals and from families who have said they were in the stands and, ‘My God, we couldn’t wait for them to shut off the beer,’ ” said Michael Connolly, a licensing board member. ”They were rowdy and the profanities were going.”
Red Sox officials denied that alcohol problems have increased at Fenway. The officials said the team expanded points of sale for beer in order to reduce the time fans have to wait in line and said that the number of beers sold dropped in 2004, to 3.1 million, despite an increase in the number of fans attending games. They conceded that with larger cup sizes the volume of alcohol being sold might be higher.