February 5, 2009

Slots May Save Preakness, But Another Preakness Tradition Dies

No, this isn't a cruel joke. It's 100% reality. Today, the Maryland Jockey Club banned infield spectators from bringing their own drinks of any kind (water, soft drinks, and BEER) to Preakness at Pimlico. Never again will scenes like this one be observed:

The full Baltimore Sun article reads as follows:

As a Preakness tradition, it may not rank with the singing of " Maryland My Maryland" but the longstanding practice of infield spectators bringing their own beer into the second jewel of racing's Triple Crown will be no more, the Maryland Jockey Club announced today.

In fact, no beverages of any kind -- including soft drinks and water -- will be permitted to be brought into the infield for the 134th running of the Preakness on May 16.

The Jockey Club's press announcement said:

"No beverage of any kind (cans or bottles), including alcohol, soft drinks and water will be allowed to be brought into the public infield.

"Sixteen ounce beers will be sold for $3.50."

Spectators will be permitted to bring food into the infield.

Softening the blow was the announcement that there will be several added entertainment elements, including a pro women's beach volleyball tournament and a concert featuring Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer ZZ Top, contemporary rockers Buckcherry and a local group yet to be announced.

Last year, fan alcohol was disallowed in the clubhouse and grandstand areas.

So instead of bringing $10 30-packs of Schlitz and Natty Boh to the Infield, infield spectators will have the right to purchase a $3.50 16 ounce draft beer? And how much beer do the folks at the Maryland Jockey Club believe will actually stay in that plastic draft glass after navigating the mass of humanity from the concession stand back to one's spot on the Infield? Probably not too much, which is part of the strategy.

Infield ticket prices have increased steadily to now over $50, a two-fold increase from just a few years ago. Now beer is going to be charged?

Maryland Jockey Club, you've cut off your nose to spite your face. You think you're going to earn money by doing this? All you're going to do is move the party elsewhere, and for those who do decide to come to the Infield, you will see the full ingenuity of the college-age students across the State of Maryland in smuggling methods and volumes not witnessed since Prohibition.

10 Responses:

Nikhil28 said...

This is what happens when you live in communist Maryland, lol (side note: don't even get me started on what party runs Maryland). But politics aside, I share Jeremy's sentiments. This is BS.

falnfenix said...

whatwhatWHAT??!? that's 90% of the appeal of preakness!

way to kill the event, Jockey Club. good luck getting the normal amounts of people to show up.

ugh. get me OUT of this state!!

J-Red said...

99% of the appeal, especially if the temperature is over 80 degrees, it is raining, or you like female nudity.

Meghan said...

How could they possibly do this? I'm too shocked for words. Hopefully they'll lose a lot of money and change the rule for next year.

Andrew Schaffer said...

I had two of the best days I can't remember there. Way to go ruin a fantastic tradition.

Grant said...

I used to work for Charm City Hospitality, the company that does concessions at Merriweather and the company that, for the last two or three summers, has sold the in-house alcohol at Preakness. Last year we heard rumors that they were banning bring-your-own booze and Charm City stood to benefit. Good to hear at least that they'll be lowering the prices. I think Jerry (the owner) was charging $7 for a draft last summer (same price as Merriweather).

I wonder if they'll be back? I quit when I moved away from Columbia.

Anonymous said...

You can bring food, but not beverages? So you just need to bring pot brownies and mushrooms instead of beer. Easy solution

Brien said...

The lines for concessions have always been long, and that's when most people brought all their own shit. Banning people bringing water seems like a recipe for lots of dehydration cases.

I thought about not going because of this, but I'm such a lightweight I could all the beer I want to drink for less than $20. Hopefully I won't put too much of a damper on the party.

And really? A beach volleyball tournament? That's the last thing you need at Preakness.

Bet said...

The only reason to go to Preakness was the partying. This just killed Preakness.

Anonymous said...

Wooooowww way to ruin a good time. Last year was my first Preakness and I was counting the days from the time I left the infield until 2009.

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