Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
Team wins big game. Team celebrates win. Celebration involves alcohol. Alcohol is consumed/sprayed on the field/in the stands. MLB’s alcohol policy is violated and no one is punished.
That is the scenario that is played out across ballparks virtually every time a team clinches a playoff birth or wins a series. The most recent example is the Mets advancing to the World Series in Wrigley Field on Wednesday night. But, according to ESPN, there is a little-known alcohol policy that MLB has in place but has not strictly enforced up to this point. However, that could all be changing soon as according to ESPN, MLB may soon be cracking down on the postgame celebrations if teams infringe upon the rules set forth in their alcohol policy, particularly bring alcohol onto the playing field and spraying it in the stands.
About a month ago MLB sent out a memo to teams headed to the postseason that outlined the do’s and dont’s for postgame celebrations. Besides spraying fans with alcohol, other stated rules include:
-teams must limit champagne to two bottles per player
-teams must included non-alcoholic beverages
-beer is the only other alcohol permitted in celebrations
-teams must remind their players to ‘drink/celebrate responsibly’
-teams must make sure transportation is available for players and staff to get back home or their hotels safely
Apparently MLB has had this policy in place for some time but most fans, and many players, don’t even know about it. Some of the more recent celebrations have become a little over-the-top and that is what is forcing MLB to actually consider disciplinary action for teams that break their rules. Here is what one league source told ESPN:
“Things have gone beyond where they’re supposed to. You just have to turn on the TV and can see it.”
MLB certainly doesn’t want to remove this element from the game but some punitive damage will have to be enacted for teams to realize they are taking things a little too far. Having a slip-n-slide is one thing, but spraying fans (including minors) with alcohol is another and has no place in postgame celebrations. I don’t think the celebrations after this upcoming World Series will warrant any punitive action from the league, but I expect that starting in 2016, we’ll have our first ‘Team X fined for postgame celebration’ blurb and that will bring up this whole issue again.