Ahh, can you smell it? Spring is in the air. The grass is getting greener. The weather is getting nicer. The semester is getting into full swing and all those midterm papers that youâ€™ve been putting off are now coming due.
And yes, the unmistakable sound of aluminum striking cowhide in the form of a baseball resonates through the air from the corner of Cedar and Barstow Avenues.
And what could be better than going out to a game with a couple of buddies, taking in some of the wonderful springtime weather and settling in for a few hours to partake in a slice of Americana?
And what could be better than sitting there watching that game with a nice ballpark hot-dog, a bag of peanuts and a beer.
WHOA! Hold the phone here. There is no more beer at Fresno State baseball games? A tear nearly fell from my eye when confronting this tragedy for the first time this season. Is this what things have come to? PC, or whatever you want to call the no beer policy sweeping across college campuses throughout the West Coast, is ruining my sports viewing experience.
What could have been so egregious the violation to prompt this action? Did someone get killed? What could have led Fresno State to pull from its stadiums such a financial boon as the six-dollar-beer? Why would they do this to me?
But then it all came rushing back to me in a flash. Memories of football fans throwing screwdrivers at opposing players. Front page articles in the USA Today showing Fresno State tailgaters unabashedly slamming beers for all the world to see (as if Fresno State didnâ€™t have enough bad press following the Jerry Tarkanian experiment). And yes, the universityâ€™s attempt to make itself look appealing in the off chance the PAC-10 ever felt compelled to make itself the PAC-11.
So it all became clear then. Somebody had to be thrown under the bus in order to clean up a struggling public image, and beer drinkers were the ones who found themselves choking on the exhaust.
Now there are certain things in the world of sports that I find sacred. The sports fan should have certain inalienable rights when going to a ball game. At a Giants vs. Dodgers game, it is perfectly fine to tell Jeff Kent how much he stinks. Nobody is going to tell you not to throw peanut shells on the ground or not to pee in the sink when the bathroom line is too longâ€¦wait, that might be going a little bit too far. And I feel that I should be able to go to a baseball game on a 110-degree day in the middle of the summer and drink a beer.
But unfortunately, someone in charge of things at this university is under the impression that a football stadium full crazed, drunken, violent and unruly fans who are all on the brink of riot makes for a poor family atmosphere. Someone thinks that the comforts of the many outweigh the whims of a drunken few. Someone thinks that a college football game should be a safe place to bring women and children.
Some reasoning that is.
Okay, all kidding aside. I suppose it does make a modicum of sense to ban alcohol from Fresno State athletic events. After all, who wants to take their life into their own hands just to go to a football game? The risk involved in going to a Fresno State football game three years ago was roughly equivalent to taking a bath with your toaster or wrestling a hungry grizzly bear. It made â€œThe Black Holeâ€? at Oakland Raidersâ€™ games look like a daycare. So yes, I accept that cutting off beer sales may have been a necessary step to repair the poor public image Fresno State and its fans were receiving in the national media.
But that doesnâ€™t mean I have to like it.
So for the time being I suppose I will just have to content myself with more tangible and practical pleasures. Like the weather, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the ability to go home after a baseball game with the capability to open up a book and read.
Perhaps a day without the sauce isnâ€™t such a bad thing after all.