SportsProf

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Tragedy at Citizens Bank Park

Saturday afternoon two groups got into a scuffle at McFadden's, a restaurant-bar in Citizens Bank Park. According to the linked article, McFadden's ejected the group, but the fight continued.

In a nearby parking lot, costing a 22 year-old patron his life. You can read all about the tragedy here.

Citizens Bank Park is a nice place. I take my family there. It also sells out pretty regularly, and the team is rolling in the dough. The most popular vendors are those who sell beer (at about $7 a pop). And the team sells a lot of it.

That's interesting, given that many who travel to the game drive. The stadium is conveniently located for fans from South Jersey, northern Delaware and suburbs to the west, south, north and east of the city. Given the lack of traffic accidents (I'm less sure about DUI arrests), it's a good bet that many fans come with designated drivers.

But there are a few things that the Phillies can do better on the alcohol front, as follows:

1. Ban tailgating from all lots surrounding the stadium. The reason? I couldn't get into my normal lot about a month ago and ended up in the lot adjacent to Lincoln Financial Field. I was one of the last cars to get into the lot. Still, there were plenty of open spaces, but I had trouble finding a space. Tailgaters, many of whom had plenty to drink before the game began, took up multiple spaces, either sitting in folding chairs or playing games. (Why anyone would find a tailgate on asphalt in the heart of a hot city appealing is beyond me). Most wouldn't budge. Finally, I got near an open space where the tailgaters looked less challenging, and I heard one of them say to another, "Let him in, he's got a kid with him." Great, my 9 year-old, the human shield.

A friend once went to a Flyers' playoff game at nearby Wachovia Center a few years ago, the same night of a "dollar dog" night at the park that typically attracts a college-age crowd. So drunk and rowdy were the Phillies' fans after the game that they blocked traffic, stood before his car refusing to move, and otherwise were disruptive. It was an embarrassing display of behavior.

2. Stop beer sales after the fifth inning. This is an easy one. Signs abound on the highways in Pennsylvania that pronounced "Buzzed driving is drunk driving." Let's make sure that buzzed driving doesn't happen by taking away the suds after the game is half over. Why take any risks? Do the Phillies need that much extra money from post-fifth inning beer sales? I don't think so.

There are plenty of ways to have fun without either alcohol or excessive alcohol. The Phillies are a great team with a great organization, but even the best need a reality check from time to time, and the Phillies need one on this topic.

Because people who drink too much can do bad things.

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