So who deserves credit for the recent Arizona Baseball National Championship? The Players you say…
Sure, of course they got hot and won in a dominating fashion.
Does Andy Lopez deserve some credit? You bet! Every move coach Lopez made seemed to work perfectly in the postseason.
Did Greg Byrne have some affect on the team this year and deserve some of the credit? I think he does and the players agreed, thanking him time after time in the post game interviews from Omaha.
But there is someone, or really something, that deserves credit that hasn’t gotten any credit for helping out the Wildcat Baseball team in their climb to the top…
That’s right beer. You heard it time and time again on ESPN about them moving into Hi Corbett Field. How it was a good move, how it got the team prepared for Omaha. How it energized the fan base, but that was looking at the big picture and when you break it down…
After all, the recent move to Hi Corbett brought attendance records for the Wildcat Baseball team. So are the seats in Hi Corbett that much more comfortable than the ones on campus? No. Is the food a lot better at Hi Corbett? No. Is there air conditioning at Hi Corbett? No. So there is only one major difference…
(What parking you say? Easier to get to? A top-10 team? Pshaw, we will not have any of those arguments when I am pontificating on the wonders of barley and hops.)
After all the Wildcats played on campus for years and there has never been a buzz like there was this year. Even in 2004 when the Wildcats were on their way to Omaha, there was no where near the hype there was this year at the same point in the season. Why? Because this year people went out and watched the team.
The only way you could drink at Sancet Field was to smuggle in a flask, or run over to Fraternity Row between innings and purchase a new ticket. Hi Corbett was serving beer.
Having a few brews while watching a baseball game go hand in hand. Before going to Omaha I am willing to bet that the average fan at a game could name more beers for sale at Hi Corbett than players on the field.
Beer has given not-so-die-hard fans a reason to go to a game on their weekends, while Lopez and the players have given them a reason to return.
I know many people who will not even watch a Major League baseball game without drinking at the game. Many people think that it helps make the game more interesting. Others find having a cold one while taking in a game to be stress relieving and relaxing. While there are many who just want to get drunk and yell, (most of those people reside in Philadelphia.)
Beer and baseball have a long history together. Both the St Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers are owned by Beer Companies. St Louis is owned by Anheuser Busch and the Brewers by the Miller Brewing Co, and the Rockies aren’t owned by Coors but the Stadium is called Coors field. Heck, the Brewers are named after beer.
Also it is proven that beer sales spike during games that matter like playoff games. Studies done at Busch stadium states that fans consume 19.8 ounces of beer in a playoff game. That is a jump of 75 percent, now that is an extreme but on the average they jump from 20 to 75 percent for big games. This year, and hopefully for years to come, there will be more and more big games.
In reality, no matter how much I joke, beer played a minor role in the success of the Wildcats, but it did play a role. Sure, it was less of a role than it played in the success of my softball team, but how many fans went out to watch the Batcats for the first time because of beer sales. Even if it was only a few hundred a game, that number adds up over the course of a season.
Hi Corbett would have been a success even without the increase in attendance. The dimensions are nearly identical to those in Omaha. The playing surface and design of the park gave the Cats a competitive advantage. The clubhouse may not have been good enough for the Rockies, but it is one of the tops in the Pac-12.
When you add 2,000-5,000 fans, beer fueled or not, it only makes those advantages greater. The only thing better than a nice park and winning, is winning in a nice park that is jammed full of cheering fans.
And if beer helped bring them to the park, no one is complaining.
Hopefully the Wildcats will continue to break attendance records. Doing so will mean they can break food and beverage records. That will mean much greater profits earned, which puts more money into the program, as well as the city coffers. All in all we have a lot to thank beer about. Having beer this year was a win for profits, a win for the fans, and the team did pretty good themselves.
Now, I am going to go grab a cold one and re-watch the win over South Carolina.