50-Cent Beer Night at the Ballpark? No Thanks!
“Why don’t they hold 50-cent beer nights at the game?” I heard this comment at a Quincy Gems Baseball game. Well, here is why they won’t do it. It was 43 years ago that a “Ten Cent Beer Night” was held by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians during a game against the Texas Rangers at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. The idea behind the promotion on June 4th, 1974 was to offer as many 8 fluid ounce cups of beer as the fans could drink for just 10 cents each thus increasing ticket sales.
The game had a special significance for both teams, as there had been in a bench clearing brawl in a Rangers/Indians game one week earlier in Texas, during a ten cent beer night there in Arlington. Six days later, Cleveland’s Ten Cent Beer Night promotion enticed 25,134 fans to come to Cleveland Stadium for the Rangers/Indians game. The average attendance had been 8,000.
Throughout the contest, the crowd in attendance, which was already heavily inebriated, grew more and more unruly. A woman ran out to the Indians’ on-deck circle and flashed her breasts and a naked man sprinted onto the field. A father and son pair ran onto the outfield and mooned the fans in the bleachers one inning later. As the game progressed, more fans ran onto the field and caused problems.
Drunk Cleveland fans were also throwing objects onto the field and by the 9th inning the fans poured onto the field in a full scale riot scene. Players from both teams were involved with fighting the unruly crowd. Ultimately, the game was forfeited to Texas on the orders of umpire crew chief Nester Chylak because of the crowd’s uncontrollable rowdiness, and because the game could not be resumed in a timely manner. Eventually, riot police were called in to quell the disturbance.
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I will pay the regular price for a beer at my next Gems game. I don’t need any unruly crowds around me.