Originally created 04/11/98

Brewhaha: Fans go with the flow on Fenway beer ban



BOSTON -- No beeyah at Fenway Pahk for the home openah?

What'll they do next? Paint the Green Monster blue?

For the first time since Prohibition, there was no beer served at Fenway for the first Red Sox home game, the result of the opener coinciding with Good Friday and Passover.

Team officials thought it would be in poor taste for fans to be boozing on the holy day.

To those for whom the Red Sox are a secular religion, however, not to have a brew to wash down a Fenway Frank could be considered sacrilegious.

"It doesn't make sense. There was a lot of alcohol consumed in the Bible," said David Corcoran of Haverhill.

Corcoran, 32, a health care consultant, was waiting in line to get into the Cask & Flagon bar across the street from Fenway Park. He planned to watch the game at the bar with friends.

"It seems to be a right-wing Moral Majority conspiracy," he laughed.

Fans both for and against the alcohol ban had different theories about the prohibition, many not buying the company line.

Some said the Red Sox had been caught serving to minors last year and had to surrender their license for a day. They figured the Sox picked Opening Day because they would be assured a full house anyway.

But the city's licensing department and the Red Sox denied all that.

Others suggested union distributors refused to deliver beer to the park or that the team was in cahoots with local taverns to ensure them the maximum business.

"If they were going to do anything, they should ban hot dogs," said John Fitzgerald, 50, of Scituate, referring to the Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent.

Despite some griping about the ban, most said they would take it in stride and make the necessary adjustments.

Bill Lyons, 41, of Sandwich, was among a group of eight men smoking cigars at a table at the Boston Beer Works. He said the gang goes to the season opener every year and usually abandons the park during the seventh inning stretch for the comfort of a local drinking establishment.

This year, they were planning to stay for only three innings of the game against the Seattle Mariners before heading out.

Bill Ryan of Lynn, dressed in a Red Sox shirt and Three Stooges hat, hurried toward the park as the lineup was being announced.

Ryan mocked the prohibition, saying patrons would have to catch a ball thrown at them as they entered the park as part of a sobriety test.

"If they had done this 12 years ago to Bill Buckner, we would have won a World Series," he said.

But for those concerned about future years, relax. The Red Sox said Good Friday, Passover and Opening Day are not expected to land on the same day again for 200 years.