Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm believes MLB teams are making a mistake by extending beer sales to counteract the shorter length of games due to the institution of the pitch timer.
According to ESPN, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers will now sell beer until the end of the eighth inning rather than the end of the seventh, and more teams could follow suit.
That is because games are an average of 30 minutes shorter so far this season than last thanks to MLB’s new pace-of-play rules.
During an appearance on the Baseball Isn’t Boring podcast this week, Strahm spoke out against some teams changing their beer-selling policy because of the potential dangers it could pose for fans:
“The reason we stopped [selling alcohol in] the seventh before was to give our fans time to sober up and drive home safe, correct? So now with a faster-pace game—and me just being a man of common sense—if the game is going to finish quicker, would we not move the beer sales back to the sixth inning to give our fans time to sober up and drive home?”
Strahm added: “Instead, we’re going to the eighth, and now you’re putting our fans and our family at risk driving home with people who have just drank beers 22 minutes ago.”
Per ESPN, MLB allows its teams to dictate beer-selling rules individually rather than putting any sweeping regulations in place. Most teams previously stopped serving after the seventh inning.
Strahm suggested that some teams extending beer sales is a case of “billionaires” trying to “find a way to make their dollars back,” before adding:
“No one ever wants to admit they’re wrong, which I think is a problem in itself for our society. But it is what it is. We have to deal with what we’re given.
“But just using common sense: We stopped it in the seventh for the safety of fans and people getting home. Like, it just makes no sense to me that you’re going to allow it to the eighth inning.”
MLB’s new rules, including the pitch clock, have been roundly praised this season for yielding quicker and more exciting games, but less time to sell beer and other concessions is something MLB teams have to account for.
While some teams are trying to make up for lost sales by extending beer sales, most teams have yet to make any such changes.