BOSF 2012: How to Smuggle Beer into a Stadium

In 2005, San Francisco 49ers fans Daniel and Kathleen Sheehan objected to the team forcing patrons into a game of two-hand touch. Claiming mandatory pat-downs of their person to be an unwarranted invasion of privacy, the Sheehans sued. And like the pre-2011 49ers, the couple lost. And lost again. But they won the big one when the state Supreme Court ruled "The 49ers have not yet given any justification for its policy" — which was deemed to violate the California constitution's right to privacy.

Stadium-goers, then, can toast the Sheehans: No one is going to pat you down, so, those so inclined can tote in beer.

Getting beer into the ballpark is the more difficult cousin of smuggling beer into the movie theater. More difficult but more rewarding: While it would be mortifying to kick an empty beer bottle down the aisle during The Pianist, there's no scenario in which beer and baseball aren't a match. There may be no crying in baseball, but there's no socially mandated temperance, either.

In beer-smuggling, as in life, it's better to be tall and skinny than short and fat. It turns out your breadbasket is also your beer fridge; the best place to stow the most suds is your midsection. Three receptacles of beer can reliably be placed in the front of one's pants. A tall, thin container — say, a Sapporo can — maximizes the volume of beer one can port — while minimizing physical pain. A more rotund container — say, a Foster's can — can stretch one's belt and flesh. What's more, the shape of a tall receptacle allows one to "balance" it half in and half out of the pants, tightening or loosening the stomach muscles as necessary. Bottles may be preferable to cans in most beer-related situations, but the uniformity and even weight distribution of a tallboy makes it an easier item to cram down one's pants than a bottle. A bottom-heavy bottle may slip down one's pants and force an impromptu crouch and faux-shoelace tying. This can be awkward while laden with beer. And wearing loafers.

Knee socks aren't just a throwback fashion accessory — they're also a remarkably adept method of stowing beer. One beer can be secured within each sock.

When crucifying yourself, no matter how hard you try, you just can't get in that last nail. It's similarly difficult to load up your last two beers. Assuming you are unable to fit three beers down the front of your pants, you'll need to go with two in the front, two in the socks, and two on the arms. It's hard to win the arms race. One method is to actually use athletic tape to affix a beer to each forearm, which may lead to undesired hair removal. Another method is to place two beer cans into the sleeve of your team jacket, and keep your hand firmly in your pocket. Like French comedian Jamel Debbouze, who lost the use of his right hand in a childhood mishap, you must never remove that hand from its pocket.

When walking with two beers in one's socks, two to three beers down the front of one's pants, and two beers in a sleeve, one's gait is slow and unsteady. You walk a bit like Dustin Hoffman's Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy. Let's be frank: Stadium employees are not going to hassle anyone who is walking like this.

Once you pass the turnstile, the major hurdle has been cleared. But failure still lurks. Bottles can make noise or slide out of a pant leg. And, during the course of the game, an usher might spot your contraband. The cure to the latter is to approach opening one's beer like you would crossing King Street before the game — be sure to look both ways and proceed only with caution. You'll need to bring along drinking cups scavenged from a fast food restaurant or the plastic souvenirs the folks who pay $7.75 for a stadium draft leave around the seats.

Only an ingrate would make work for the stadium's janitorial crew. At AT&T Park it's a snap to be socially conscious — they even have composting bins alongside the recycling tubs for any leftover pretzels you smuggle in.

Finally, toting your own beer into the ballpark can save you $30 or more — if you were inclined to drink as much while paying stadium prices. You might want to think about putting that money toward something good. Buy mom a present. Does she like beer?

 
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