Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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While growing up, my dad always told me that too much of a good thing could become something bad. I never paid much attention to it, but as I grew older, it made much more sense. Many people have memorable experiences of how this classic saying has been true in their lives over the years, but as a Cleveland sports fan, the greatest example of all took place exactly 40 years ago today as the perfect disaster of beer and baseball invaded Cleveland, Ohio.
After a losing effort to the Texas Rangers involved a bench-clearing brawl and a cheap shot from Texas manager Billy Martin about Cleveland’s fans just one week earlier, the Indians organization held a promotion that they knew would attract people to the ballpark when the Rangers came to town. On June 4th, 1974, the Cleveland Indians hosted the Texas Rangers on the infamous 10-Cent Beer Night and even though each fan was limited to six 12-ounce beers apiece, 60-Cents got the Indians into much more trouble than they anticipated.
Over 25,000 fans attended that game, so without question, the promotion was a success. The Indians had held 5 & 10-cent beer promotions in the past, but following the hatred that had brewed in Texas a week prior, the successful promotion and massive amounts of beer turned terrible very quickly.
Throughout the game, drunken fans were constantly throwing hotdogs and spitting on the Rangers players, a woman flashed the crowd from the Indians on-deck circle and a man ran naked across the field because, well, why not? After the Indians had come back to tie the game at 5-5 in the 9th inning and Rangers outfielder Jeff Burroughs looked to be tripped by an intruding fan, all hell broke loose.
The Rangers finally had enough as they stormed the field with bats in hand and the inebriated Tribe fans didn’t go down without a fight. With their own weapons of choice including beer bottles, knives and stadium seats, the battle was on. Thank god the Indians finally took the field to protect and support their fellow baseball players, even though it included fighting back against their own fans. As the ginormous fight took place and the players were finally sneaking away to the clubhouse, the umpires had seen enough as they forfeited the game to the Texas Rangers and ending this ugly display of fandom.
I wasn’t around to experience this moment in sports history, but through stories, t-shirts and literature, it’s almost like I was there. I applaud the Indians for attempting to capitalize on this heated rivalry with the Rangers, but as we look back on it now, hindsight truly is 20/20 and pissed off fans with cheap beer are a bad combination.
We always want to think that more is better and good can never be bad, but 40-years ago today, the Cleveland Indians set the precedent that all good things must come to an end and on 10-Cent Beer Night, they never even started.
Also, a friendly reminder to join us on July 5th for the 2014 ‘Our Sports Report’ Wiffle Ball Summer Classic in lovely Fredericktown, Ohio. For more information on playing in or sponsoring the tournament, PLEASE CLICK HERE! Hope to see you on July 5th!