BALTIMORE — Fans attending Baltimore Orioles' games at Memorial Stadium will soon find their coolers and ice chests being inspected at the gates as officials crack down on alcohol abuse by fans, officials said Friday.
Beginning July 8, containers brought into the park will be inspected for alcoholic beverages in an effort to preserve the "family atmosphere" at games, said General Manager Hank Peters.
In a survey by Sport magazine, published in its July issue, "Oriole fans were rated as the best-behaved in all major league baseball," Peters said. "Unfortunately, there is a small minority among our fans whose rowdy conduct and obscene language tend to spoil a day at the ballpark for those around them. It is our feeling that overindulgence in alcoholic beverages is the principal cause of that misbehavior."
Fans with coolers will be asked to enter through two gates as officials begin efforts to enforce a long-standing Baltimore Park Board regulation prohibiting bringing alcoholic beverages and any cans or bottles into the stadium.
"We want to make the point clear that it has always been illegal to bring alcohol, cans and bottles," said Bob Brown, an Oriole spokesman. "Those regulations have been in effect--possibly since the Orioles came to Baltimore--but they haven't always been enforced."
Brown said alcohol was not considered a problem until fairly recently, when reports of rowdy fans and complaints by some spectators prompted officials to take steps to curb the abuse of alcohol.
In that spirit, the stadium concessionaire, ARA-Martins, also plans to reduce the sales by beer vendors in certain sections during the late innings, Brown said.