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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Thirsty Thursday bites dust

    Last night’s Sidewinder’s game marked what may be the last game featuring $1 beers at Tucson Electric Park, a popular pastime for fans.

    The tradition of $1 beers, aptly named “”Thirsty Thursday,”” has been taking place since the early 1990s, but pressure from Tucson Electric Park’s concession owners and liability issues may bring the popular pastime to an end.

    After the first pitch is thrown Thursday evenings, concession stands at the park offer $1 beer, soft drinks and lemonade, but despite park officials’ attempts to create an environment to safely drink, liability issues have taken precedence.

    Erin Szymanski, an elementary education senior, said Thirsty Thursday has become a tradition for her and her friends.

    “”I’m really sad because all of my friends come on Thursday to unwind and relax,”” Szymanski said.

    I’m disappointed in the Sidewinders if they discontinue Thirsty Thursday. I will never come to a game again.
    – Kyla Stoughton,
    elementary education student at Pima Community College

    “”I’ve lived in Tucson all my life, and I started coming when I was 21.””

    Szymanski also said that she doesn’t think that getting rid of Thirsty Thursday makes sense from a safety standpoint.

    “”They give drink specials at bars, so why not at a ballpark,”” Szymanski said. “”At least it’s only two hours so people have time to sober up before they drive. You don’t have time to get blown out of your mind.

    Matthew Burke, director of stadium operations, said Tucson Electric Park is the only stadium in the country that continues to host the event, although changes have been made in their methods of vending.

    “”We took several steps to alleviate anything dangerous. The beer is sold out of satellite stands, which only sell beer, we use wristbands instead of stamps so underage drinkers can be spotted and there are sheriffs posted at the beer stands,”” Burke said. “”I think we’ve earned the right to do it.””

    Burke said while the park makes almost no money off of the event, they try to keep it alive out of tradition, and it draws crowds to the ballpark.

    Jay Zucker, president of the Tucson Sidewinders, said that there are two reasons why the event may not take place in the future.

    “”We’ve felt resistance hosting thirsty Thursday this season,”” Zucker said. “”There are different entities resisting us continuing the tradition. I don’t want to go into who the entities are, for political reasons.””

    Zucker said that despite the fact that his organization essentially breaks even in the endeavor, he would have no qualms in continuing the practice.

    “”Thirsty Thursday is a tradition. We would do it if we made money or not. It’s like a party in the stadium,”” Zucker said. “”If we can get the fans in there, it’s a good night.””

    After the issues they faced in getting Thirsty Thursday to run this season, Burke said he would not be surprised if it didn’t work out next season, but it is out of deference to the club from Delaware North, Tucson Electric Park’s concessionaire, that it has been entertaining Tucson for this long.

    “”We are allowed to do this out of respect of our concessionaire and out of our diligence making sure that people are drinking responsibly and are of age,”” Burke said. “”The fact that we have not experienced any kind of fallout makes me think there is definitely the possibility that we will continue.””

    Jim Nintzel, an adjunct instructor in journalism and long-time Tucson Torros and Sidewinders fan, said he remembers when beers were cheaper.
    “”It has been going on since at least the early 90’s,”” Nintzel said. “”They used to charge you 25 cents a beer, but cups were tiny and people just had to get right back in line.””

    Nintzel also said he remembers his favorite activity to watch during the weekly games.
    “”The ‘izzy-dizzy bat race’ on Thirsty Thursday was my favorite because those knuckle-heads out there are clearly wasted,”” Nintzel said.

    Kyla Stoughton, an elementary education student at Pima Community College, said she would hold the team responsible for the decision.

    “”I’m disappointed in the sidewinders if they discontinue Thirsty Thursday,”” Stoughton said. “”I will never come to a game again.””

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