Friday, October 29, 2010

Alcohol and Sporting Events

I really thought this article would hit home with most readers that may wander upon this one day. As it shouldn’t be a secret by now, here at Sterling Shakers all the writers are big time New York Yankee fans. It is the only sports team that is in common with all four of us. An aside, anyone who says it is easy to be a Yankee fan should have watched the ALCS and pretended to try to like the product the Yankees fielded for 6 games. That is neither here nor there, but the point I am trying to make is that no matter what team you like, what sport you may follow, and if you like going to live events or not, there may be something in this article for you. Plus, it is a Friday and I am anticipating enjoying at least one of these scenarios this weekend for sure.

In 2010, I saw a Major League Baseball game at four different venues (Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and Tropicana Field), a Jets game at the new Meadowlands, a few New York Rangers’ games at MSG, and a minor league baseball Brooklyn Cyclones game at MCU (read as: Keyspan) Park. In the past I have attended a countless amount of other games and events at many different venues. For someone who has never visited a US city other than Dallas, TX that is off the east coast of the continental US, I have still made my rounds to plenty of sporting events and have had everything from vodka on the rocks to PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) cans poured into cups. These experiences I will now share with you.

Hofstra University Hockey Game

Okay, the fact is that Hofstra only had a club Hockey team. My friend happened to be an employee of Hofstra’s radios station and covered the games. When he wasn’t in the booth, he was dragging his posse around to see games. This means if he brought 10 people, only 15 were on the bleachers watching because some of them had girlfriends and friends with nothing better to do I guess. I can’t remember how long ago this was, who won the game (think it was Hofstra but the score escapes me), the name of any players, but I do know it was a fun time because heckling the other players was encouraged. Problem: no booze to be served. I think my option was stale “soft” pretzels and hot dogs, if I even had that privilege. A game like this would have been much more enjoyable with half a load on – so pack your flasks ladies and gentlemen. Showing up drunk I frown upon because you’ll go all out early and leave nothing in the tank later except for a basketful of nonsensical comments, but a few tilts of that flask with your favorite sipping liquor between whistles and periods, by the third you’ll have opposing players wanting to fight you instead of the guy that just beat him with a filthy move through his legs. My Choice: Flask of Jack Daniels/Jameson or something else warming. It’s chilly in a hockey rink!

Minor League Baseball Game: Brooklyn Cyclones

There are fewer things I can think of in the middle of the summer that entertain me more than a minor league contest. First off, the Cyclones are only short season players. They are the short season single A farm system of the New York Mets. This makes them the Mets full season single A’s team, minor league team. They’re “old guys” on the team are usually 26. There is a lot of heart in these players, and while odds are you won’t see them in the majors the next season, you’ll see a great show of young talent and ability. If the pros had as much hustle as these guys when down 10-0, you’d never turn off a game. There is no rolling over and dying because that could potentially cost you a call up to the next level. Regardless, MCU (Keyspan) Park is in Coney Island and every time I have gone, it has been warm. The good seats are cheap by the home dugout, and it doesn’t hurt when the Starving Waiter knew the first baseman. So the money you save on buying minors tickets to sit near the ballclub you’ll be rooting for, you buy beer with. I think they sold amstels and a few other imports, but while enjoying America’s past time; my theory is to enjoy an American beer. This is another “Don’t show up drunk” kind of event. Everyone is rather friendly in the stands, a lot of die hards that follow the team all season are there and you’re sitting in their home park. However, a gradual beer buzz is required to enjoy rooting the team on. It is much more personal. If your short stop just turned a nice play, on his way in, let him know it. Raise your beer glass and let it all out. “Nice play six! Nice play!” The locals will really enjoy your enthusiasm if done in moderation and of course, they see you are enjoying some of America’s finest things. My Choice: Budweiser Heavy/Miller Highlife (or Light for those watching their girlish figure).

Pro Basketball Game

I was unaware the sport existed still and thought it was called “Miami Heat Ball” now? Did you know a bar in southern Florida has offered to pick up your tab up to $25 for the Heat’s losses this year as long as you sign in a half hour before the game? They said they would go undefeated, so they’d never have to do it. Way to lose your first game Heat. My Choice: Just don’t watch pro basketball. Don’t do it. Floridians – go take up that offer and drink $25 worth of anything that will be strong enough to get you hammered whenever the Heat play a good team. It’s worth a shot for a free tab if you’re lacking things to do. Bring a book or some headphones.

Pro Hockey Game: New York Rangers

This rivals football games as the most hostile environment in the stands. Hockey however is like any other sport you can think of on amphetamines. The pace is so fast, and a game will not keep you much longer than 2 and ½ to 3 hours. There can be entire minutes that go by without a stoppage, while chance after chance goes wide of the nets or gets knocked aside by the goalie or player. This isn’t my favorite sport, but it is by far and away my favorite sporting event to attend. MSG is easy to pregame, and if going with some other fellow diehards, I recommend it. There are several local watering holes in the midtown area where fans flock before and after games. This makes my drink of choice complicated. You don’t want to be fall down drunk upon arrival (security frowns upon you throwing up in the bushes outside as per my last experience there a week or so ago – some dude I passed by was throwing up his shoes). However, showing up entirely sober means you will be catching up to the people around you. My Choice: Pregame whatever you like. I drink a little bit of everything, so it depends on what I’m in the mood for. Usually a Jameson here or there with some beers, or just vodka clubs will do the trick for me. Maintain the buzz all game with a beer to start the first, second, and third periods. Get loud and proud. My beer of choice at MSG happens to be Bud Light, but it is more because their souvenir cups are the best in the business and you get most bang for your buck. Plus once over the drunken plateau, I would drink coconut water and 7 year old diet RC cola if you told me it would keep my buzz going.

Pro Football Game: New York Jets /Pro Baseball Game: Various

The new Meadowlands is really nice. The new Yankee Stadium makes me miss the old one. I happened to go to the only Jets home loss so far this season, but it was a good time. Whoa hold on a second, as if you need me to tell you what to drink during a Football or Baseball game? Well how do I close out this article then? I mean experiences are rather different with both games (fans are crazy at football games and pretty lax for the most part at baseball games) but the atmosphere of drinking for me tends to be the same. I just think you should enjoy some cold beer, or even for the ladies who don’t partake in beer, go for some of the higher end bars they have for you now. Enjoy your 15 dollar vodka drink, I’ll enjoy my 9-11 dollar beers… and we’ll go home and burn the rest of our money.

I got it! Just let me tell you what NOT to drink. I know Grau Geist will have a problem with this, but I honestly I do not agree with the dispensing and consumption of Guinness at any sporting event. Yes, I like Guinness a lot. I am not someone who says “you can’t drink them, it is too filling.” Guinness for me needs to be enjoyed with a meal, or while sitting and passively hanging out with a group of friends. It is not served particularly cold enough for me to think of as “stadium refreshment.” It does nothing for me while watching a game at a venue. I’m sorry, but I cannot enjoy the complex flavor of Guinness AND a ball game at the same time. Plus they don’t pour it right. You’re drinking it out of plastic. It ruins the experience of good beer. In fact, at the last baseball game I went to with Geist, and on his refreshment trip I said “anything but Guinness.” I’m pretty sure he forgot and got me one, but part of me in my head says he went up to that cashier and said “I hate my friend’s taste in beer. Get him a Guinness.” I drank it as any self respecting beer lover would, but it was a waste on me. My Choice: Anything but Guinness at a baseball or football game.

Also just for the record, there is a stand at Yankee stadium for PBR cans and other old beers like Rheingold. I’m a fan of the beer my father grew up on, and I’ll even get a case of them to drink from time to time. However, not for 10 bucks a can at the stadium. You realize the cost of a 18 pack of PBR is less than that, right? I guess that means my choice has to include “not something you can get 18 for the price of 1 at a stadium.” That should go without saying.

Finally, I know I said I’d have something here for the fan that likes to chill at home. If you’re sitting home reading this blog, not sure what you like to drink on your own couch during any sporting event, please stop reading and seek other forms of help. Make your favorite cocktail, tip some beers, or chug straight from a bottle – that’s the best part of being home, no one will judge you except your pet, significant other, and sports buddies who are all bringing their own stuff if they have a problem with what you have, or drinking your stuff for free and not saying a word about it. My choice: CHUG CHUG CHUG!

1 comment:

  1. There should be a disclaimer about showing up absolutely hammered to any and every college sporting event. Also, it should be noted that Miller is brewed 30 blocks from the Bradley Center, home of the Marquette Golden Eagles and Milwaukee Bucks, yet it still costs $8 for a beer. Where's the home town discount?


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