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.

When You Mess With the Dave Dickerson, You Get The Horns

So this video comes courtesy of last week's heavily-anticipated Tulane-Rice Conference USA basketball matchup.

For those of you who don't remember (and I'm ashamed of you if you don't), Dave Dickerson was a Terp assistant coach from 1996 through 2005 (associate head coach in 2005), before taking on the Tulane head coaching job. He had the misfortune of taking the reins of the Tulane basketball program just months prior to Hurricane Katrina tearing apart New Orleans. Somehow, he has made Tulane basketball respectable again.

Coach Dickerson was a major part of the Terps' success in reaching the 2001 Final Four and 2002 National Championship. For us Terp fans, it was also even more special, because he was a Terp basketballer himself from 1985-1989, surviving the Bias death and the post-death morass that was the Bob Wade era.

Well, in the wake of Tulane finishing off a stunning comeback on the road against Rice with no time left on the clock, in a game that got so ugly, even the Rice mascot was arrested, Coach Dickerson decided to celebrate briefly with the Green Wave player who hit the game winning shot. Here's where the Rice coach, Ben Braun, decided to try to mess with the bull:

Braun took exception to Coach Dickerson's brief celebration and decided to have a few words for Coach Dickerson, instead of shaking his hand. Look at the 2:05 point of the video. Coach Dickerson, who stands about six inches taller than Braun, peers down at him, glares at him, and gets the "Last King of Scotland" grin on his face as Braun tries to chew Coach Dickerson out. Then, a Rice coach decides to try to push Dickerson away. And then, the coaches decide to scuffle.

Ben Braun, I'm sure with your 11 years of coaching at Eastern Michigan and 11 years of coaching at Cal (congrats on that Sweet 16 in your first year coaching with other peoples' talent before you tanked the team the remaining 10 years), you feel like it is your duty to school Coach Dickerson on the finer points of "sportsmanship" as a coach. Ben Braun, CRAM IT.

Coach Dickerson, keep up the good work, and who knows... maybe we'll see you back in College Park in a few years.

And Rice fans, I'm sure you were angry. I hope you all streaked and got it out of you. Then went back to your rooms and played with your chemistry kits.