Some MLB Teams to Start Selling Beer and Other Alcohol Into the 8th Inning

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Some MLB Teams to Start Selling Beer and Other Alcohol Into the 8th Inning

Chicago Cubs

Among the things to wonder about with the accelerated game pace at MLB ballparks this year: what would happen to concessions?

A survey in the minor leagues conducted by Baseball America suggested there actually wasn’t much impact: “The answer I got back universally from more than a dozen minor league operators was no. Minor league teams did not see a loss in concessions sales because games were shorter.”

Would the same be true at the big league level, though? Do people eat and drink in a fundamentally different way at MLB games as compared to MiLB games?

We don’t have precise answers to those questions just yet, but we do already have a response from MLB teams regarding concessions in the pitch clock era – and it sounds like it is about a drop in a specific type of concessions:

Historically, beer and liquor sales cut off in the 7th inning of games, presumably to avoid the added risk of lubricating folks who would soon be driving home. If that was the reason, why make the change now? The money, of course, but is it less safe?

You could probably argue that the biggest risk involves patrons being overserved, and with the same amount of time in the park now as before (or less), there is no additional risk of being overserved (which is to say, that risk clearly already exists!). You could also argue that the difference of an inning, in terms of giving extra sobering time to fans who would’ve otherwise been dangerous, is probably not significant.

But honestly, I really don’t know!

The only specific discussion I can find at the moment is at American Family Field, where the Brewers made this change several days ago. And it kinda sounds like they don’t know either.

“This [change is reflective] of the fact that the games are shorter. From a time perspective, we’re probably looking at selling beer for the same amount of time by extending to the eighth inning that we did last year through the seventh,” Brewers president of business operations Rick Schlesinger told “Obviously, the safety and the conduct of our fans has primacy. We’ve had no issues, but it’s a small sample size and we’re going to continue to test it and see if it makes sense. I know a number of other teams are doing the same thing.”

The onus will apparently be on stadium workers to ensure things don’t get out of hand.

“I’m comfortable that our people are going to be monitoring the situation well and making sure that people who shouldn’t be served won’t be served, regardless of what inning it is,” Schlesinger said. “The vast majority of fans behave responsibly. In fact, I will tell you because I get the data, that the number of incidents of misbehavior with alcohol are down. I think people have more sensitivity and awareness. But again, if we see some concerns, safety is No. 1 and we’ll revisit it. If it turns out that this is causing an issue or we feel that it might cause an issue, then we’ll revert to what we have done previously.”

I have not yet heard specifically of the Cubs’ plans on this front, but I expect that if MLB has permitted teams to sell into the 8th inning, Wrigley Field may very well join unless there is a Chicago ordinance that prohibits it. (Pretty sure they already do it for day games? But not night? I definitely like my beer at the games, but I’m not usually testing last call.)

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.