What is better than heading out on game day to see your New York Mets? Loading up the car hours beforehand to go and meet with friends in the parking lot and have a pre-game celebration? Maybe toss a ball around, fry up some burgers and have a few beers? Well you can scratch that last part.
New York City police officers will be patrolling the Citi Field lots this season, searching for those with open containers of alcohol and handing out citations for those caught drinking in public according to a recent Yahoo! News article.
The Mets website states the following regarding tailgating:
Tailgating is permitted only under the following conditions:
- No open flames of any type, (charcoal should not be disposed of in vacant parking spaces at any time).
- Only one parking space may be used.
- Consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
- Inappropriate or dangerous behavior is not allowed.
- For security reasons no trash bins are located in Citi Field parking lots. Guests should bag trash for pick up after the event.
Failure to comply with any of the above conditions may result in a fan’s removal from the parking lots and/or summoning of NYPD.
It is the law, but NYC’s ban on drinking in public has rarely been enforced at stadium parking lots. According to the article, the New York Yankees have no policy on their website, and the Jets site references tailgating at MetLife Stadium as a “ritual at the stadium”. The Mets however have clearly stated a prohibition on alcohol on their site. They also have nothing at the park to warn fans not to drink.
“I was unaware of the rule until it was too late,” said Woodmere, New York, resident Sami Wyman, who received a $25 citation for drinking a Bud Light out of the can at Mets Opening Day this year. “It’s unfortunate that some people can’t control themselves when drinking, but it is outrageous to ticket people for something that is a traditional part of a sporting event.” –Yahoo! News
On a side note, the Yahoo! article’s image actually shows a number of fans at the ReadTheApple Opening Day tailgate; myself and my father can be seen in the background (green backpack). Ironically, the majority of us–again, myself and my dad included–had nothing to drink that day and were merely enjoying the Opening Day pre-game festivities.
I understand the fact that the Mets want to maintain a family environment, but this is WAY too much in my opinion. April 1st was the first Opening Day my dad and I had ever been to, and when we arrived around 10:00 A.M., I was thrilled to see the number of fans enjoying themselves. People were playing catch and grilling burgers, many of which were having a Bud or a Coors in their hand. It wasn’t like there was a drunken mob out in C Lot; just people excited to see their team play.
For a franchise that has had trouble putting fans in the ballpark, do the Mets really think it is wise to hand out citations for having a beer or two before a baseball game? Especially after the $20 for parking? What’s next? Are they going to limit the number of Cracker Jack’s one can consume?
I’ll let one of our founding fathers have the last word on this one. Take it away Ben!