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As everyone now knows, Tuesday night’s Cubs-Dodgers game was notable for
more than just Don Baylor’s new formula for losing ballgames–leave the
starter in to die. It also introduced America to what has been a long-term
problem at Wrigley Field: lousy security and half-assed attempts by the
Cubs’ organization to dodge responsibility for it.

Just as much as the organization portrays its actions in the baseball world
as decisive and proof of a determination to be more than lousy, it has
launched a public relations campaign to pretend that it has a handle on its
security and its liquor policies. You shouldn’t believe it any more than
you should believe Ed Lynch when he talks about his professional talent.

The Cubs have gone out of their way to pretend that they’re doing something
about drunkeness in the stands, especially after events last May in a game
against the Rockies led to the ejection of dozens of fans for drunken
rowdyism. After that embarrassment, the Cubs blubbered about how they would
now allow fans to purchase only two beers at a time, and acted as if this
would somehow solve the problem.

Setting aside the wisdom of anyone ordering multiple cups of Old Style at
top dollar, this "policy" is not being observed either in fact or
in spirit. Fans can still order more than two beers at a time, both from
vendors and at the concession stands, and even if the rule were being
observed, there’s nothing to stop anybody from buying two beers, putting
them under their seat, and ordering two more from the next vendor to come

Beyond a toothless liquor policy intended to avoid doing anything that
might undercut beer revenues, the Cubs managed to create a security
problem. Cubs "security" is best known for the lower-deck
Grannies Brigade, the ubiquitous ill-tempered uniformed bluehairs who
officiously pester fans for their ticket stubs when they aren’t busy
watching the ballgame themselves. While there have been calls in the past
for better security–even uniformed Chicago policemen in the ballpark–Cubs
officials have flatly denied the need for them, while lamenting that there
are certain fans who would complain about all that security spoiling
everybody’s fun at the old ballpark.

So what did the Cubs get for a liquor policy they don’t really observe and
a security effort they deliberately undermine? Chad Kreuter says he
was struck by the fan who took his cap; maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t.
Frank Robinson is supposedly reviewing this case to decide whether and how
much to penalize the Dodgers.

But does anyone believe a fan would get that close to the Cubs’ pen? While
I think security in Wrigley Field is a joke, that isn’t to suggest that
there also isn’t a double standard in play. Has anyone else seen what
happens to fans who try to keep an opposition home run? To the battered
survivors, good luck on getting bleacher thugs prosecuted in the Union’s
most corrupt state, and don’t even bother taking it up with stadium

Pretty clearly, this incident should draw a response from the
commissioner’s office and a heavy penalty should be handed out. But instead
of focusing on the outraged Dodgers players who had to respond to fan
misbehavior, the target should be the organization that has been
irresponsible about providing adequate security, and that has lied about
its attempts to control alcohol consumption at the ballpark.

Chris Kahrl can be reached at

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