From Robin To Rickie

April 7, 2006

Thoughts on Opening Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jamie Herbst @ 8:43 am

I'm a little late with this, and for that I apologize. I'll try to make my posts more timely and follow through on promises (hello, NL preview).

I don't want to let time slip away and not post some comments on my (and John's) Opening Day experience at Miller Park. Let me preface this by saying that I have no problem with people enjoying themselves at a ballgame, and think it's part of Miller Park's and Milwaukee's personality. That said, there seems to be a continuing theme with us at Opening Day games involving being around drunk jerks who maybe should've stayed in the parking lot. In the past, we've seen dozens of incidents during these opening day affairs and this is just in the section we've happened to have been sitting in. During last year's game we had two guys (drunk of course) sitting behind us who swore the entire game at the top of their lungs, and not just a curse here and there, but strings of completely obscene cursing at the tops of their voices for innings on end, simply for the purpose of getting attention. Many, many people in our section turned and glared numerous times, but they didn't seem to notice. Surprisingly (or not), no usher happened to show up in our section the entire game.

This year, we had three guys (one in particular) who harrassed a girl three rows in front of us pretty much the whole game for dressing provocatively. She and her friends were noticeably uncomfortable through most of the game until they decided to take the high road and laugh about it. At the platform on our concourse, a young guy (let's call him Bob) stood talking on a cell phone, seemingly trying to get ahold of someone to tell him where his seat was, while the whole time his head was nodding as he was on the verge of passing out. During this, many were laughing at "Bob" and actually throwing things like empty plastic beer bottles at him (classy). Again, there was no usher in sight.

Now again, a lot would tell me just to lighten up, that that's what you should expect at Opening Day, that if we don't like it we should move, etc. I agree completely; we're actually considering just skipping it next year and going to the 2nd game instead. People can drink all they want, and that's their choice. However, I thought there was an article a couple of weeks ago talking about how volunteer concessions workers can be held liable for serving someone who's drunk and ends up hurting someone. There's no doubt in my mind that "Bob" was barely coherent enough to order a beer and actually hand the worker the money, yet there he was spilling his brand new beer all over himself. How is someone in that state allowed to buy a beer? And yes, it's possible that a friend bought it for him, but then where was that friend when the guy was wandering around with no clue where his seat was? And again, where was the usher to see this and maybe do something about it?

Before you chalk this up to some prude ranting about something he has no clue about, let me say that John and I go to between 20-25 Brewers games per year and it's very rare that we see anything like these examples at any other time during the season……except, of course, when the Cubs are in town, which brings me to my final point. Why does it seem that when the Brewers get the huge crowds, particularly the crowds that are just there to party (Opening Day and Cubs games) the ushers seem to be MIA and the beer vendors seemingly check their brains at the door? I'm all for people having a great time, but there's no way that fans should be served to the point that they're stumbling around clueless or they're disturbing a large number of fans while there are no ushers around to do anything about it. The Brewers talk about how they want to create a family and fan-friendly atmosphere, yet you turn on the nightly news on Opening Day to hear numbers about how many beers they sold. My message to the franchise- start taking some initiative and make the game enjoyable for the 99% of us who know how to be responsible, and stop just thinking about making every last buck in beer sales.

Please, feel free to comment, and thanks for putting up with my rant.

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3 Comments »

  1. I think your post is well-stated. Opening Day is a festive day, why not just let everyone be drunk, but actually have extra ushers/security around to keep an eye on folks? Weird.

    Comment by adwred — April 7, 2006 @ 10:49 am

  2. Ushers are MIA when there are larger crowds because there are more people to deal with. The Park doesn’t necessarily change the number of ushers they have based on predicted attendance, they employ the same number throughout the year. Hence, more people = much more divided attention. How many ushers do you think it would take to help out every drunkard on opening day?

    I haven’t missed an opening day in about twelve years and I wouldn’t miss one for the world (this year I flew in from Boston just for the game Monday). Opening Day is a party for the casual fan to go out and enjoy himself. No amount of complaining will ever change that. I suggest sitting in the family section or buying a more expensive ticket, as a former beer vendor I can tell you, the more expensive the ticket the more sober the customers.

    If that doesn’t work, lighten up, take a shot, and shout and curse along with ’em!

    Comment by ESK — April 7, 2006 @ 12:59 pm

  3. ESK, I’m not saying the ushers need to be aware of every drunk. We literally did not see an usher the entire game, and we weren’t way down the line- just above terrace box right behind home plate.

    Comment by Jamie Herbst — April 7, 2006 @ 1:06 pm


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