Major League Baseball (MLB) ballparks are extending alcohol sales further into games due to a series of rule changes that have reduced playing time during the early weeks of this season.
Traditionally, kiosks would stop selling alcohol after the seventh inning, but at least four teams have now extended alcohol sales through the eighth. The AP news agency reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers have extended their service time, while others are considering changes.
MLB games have been considerably shorter this season, largely thanks to a series of rule changes, particularly the new pitch clock. Through the first couple of weeks of the season, the average game time was down 31 minutes, on track to be the league’s lowest in almost four decades.
The Rangers allowed some alcohol sales in the eighth inning last season, but have made that option more widely available in 2023. The team said, according to AP, that the move to offer in-seat service to everyone was done partly in reaction to the pitch clock and the potential of shorter game times so fans would not have to miss extended action waiting in lines at concession stands.
Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers’ president of business operations, told the MLB’s official website that their team’s move to extend alcohol sales through the eighth was an experiment.
“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,” Schlesinger said.
MLB says it does not regulate when teams sell alcohol. Most franchises have used the seventh inning as a cut-off, at least partly to avoid overserving customers who could then get in their cars and drive home, AP says.