You like my boy, Bobby? Take a whiff of his head.
Six of these, filled to the top line with beer, for 10 cents each, limit six per purchase, no limit on purchases, what could possibly go wrong?
The only way this plan go have gone sideways more horribly is if this had been a Phillies game. I’m just sayin’.
Ridiculously cheap beer plus existing feud plus outrageous team manager (Billy Martin) plus press amping the Indians and fans up for a fight equals a lot of chin music…which means fighting…which means a free-for-all…which means a full-fledged riot.
Also, colleges’ spring semester had just ended, and, at that time, you could come to the stadium two hours before the game, so many attendees were already drunk, pre-game.
Boobs were flashed, tables were flipped, batteries were thrown. Depending on their experiences, displaced Philadelphia residents either felt homesick or had PTSD flashbacks. Or both. Both is good.
I have to quote from EPSN’s journaling of how the melee began, because the prose is delicious:
Through deliberate coordination or spontaneous groupthink, hundreds of fans showed up with pockets full of firecrackers. Anonymous explosions peppered the stands from the first pitch, lending the game a war-zone ambiance that would seem increasingly appropriate. Though it is not clear whether this impromptu celebration cost anyone a finger or hand, an uneasy je ne sais quoi settled into the stadium along with clouds of exploded gunpowder and marijuana smoke.
The Rangers took the lead in the top of the second inning on a home run by designated hitter Tom Grieve. Just a few pitches later, a heavyset woman sitting near first base jumped the wall, ran to the Indians’ on-deck circle, and bared her enormous, unhindered breasts to appreciative applause from the beer-goggled teenagers who made up the stadium’s primary demographic that night. She then attempted — unsuccessfully — to kiss umpire crew chief Nestor Chylak, who was not in a kissing mood.
This woman was just the scout for a larger exhibitionist force. When Grieve hit his second home run in the fourth inning, he had not yet rounded third base when a man — entirely naked — ran onto the field and slid into second, probably getting dirt in places unsuitable for speculation.
(Oh, yeah, the Cuyahoga River had caught fire ten times by the start of this game. So, let’s look at the evidence: the horror of Balloonfest; burning river that will not be stopped; Bacchanalian riot of approximately 26,000 people over a game…I think Cincinnati might be a Hellmouth. If I disappear, it’s because I was right. Never stop looking for me. Never. I love you all.)
From the Wikipedia article, the proper ending flourish:
NBC newscaster Tim Russert, then a student at the Cleveland–Marshall College of Law, attended the game. “I went with $2 in my pocket,” recalled the Meet the Press host. “You do the math.”
Band names from this episode:
- Cherry Bomb Dugout
- Bobby Thunderbird
- Dropping Dimes