The So-Called Talking Sport Is Also A Drinking Sport. And With Much More Than Just Beer.
Baseball and beer are practically synonymous. This is mostly because it's incredibly hard to get someone drunk on light beer in just seven innings. And, as anyone who has frequented a Major League Baseball park knows, they stop serving beer at the start of the eighth inning.
This being baseball, though, it should come as no surprise that there's a long and arduous history with alcohol and this sport — one much bigger than the current traditions. And, sharing in the style of most great American cocktails, baseball's most interesting era with booze occured when things were the hardest, right in the middle of Prohibition.
Before we go back that far, though, let's look at a little more recent history: Before 1970, even though baseball's greatest players were already immortalized in myth and legend, practically all professional athletes were paid about zilch. For instance: Nolan Ryan, being much older than you think he is (he was born 1947) pumped gas and installed air conditioners in the 1968 MLB offseason. This was while he was a New York Met.
In other words: Traditionally, baseball players were fairly blue-collar.
Things weren't any better back in 1920s. Max Sanford, perhaps baseball's top mixologist of all time, was such one such blue collar fella. To make ends meet, he sold baseballs on the streets of New York. Granted, these baseballs, bought for 55 cents per dozen, were hollowed out and filled with 15 cents worth of bathtub whiskey.
Much along these same lines, right down the road in Philadelphia — a much classier place than New York during Prohibition — there was a secret “Gin Cocktail Base Ball Club.” I assume it was much harder to get into than the Jose Cuervo Club at Rangers Ballpark. They probably didn't serve $26 hot dogs there, either.
Regardless, the fact of the matter is that America's two favorite pastimes, drinking and baseball, have a long history together.
And even though fans of baseball might always associate beer with the great game, its players are much more like Keith Moon.
Babe Ruth used to down a quart of whiskey mixed with ginger ale everyday for breakfast.
Dock Ellis, just for the hell of it, pitched a 1970 no-hitter while existing in the seventh plane of the fourth dimension on LSD.
And then, of course, there's the Texas Rangers' own Josh Hamilton and his noted issues with the sauce.
So, yeah, there's some issues at play here — so much so that one New York Times writer wrote in 2007 that alcohol causes more problems in the sport than steroids do.
Let's assume, however, that you don't have a drinking problem. And that you'd prefer to drink something other than beer while watching the old ballgame. One problem: There really aren't any classic baseball cocktails out there.
It's not hard to find one that works, though. Baseball, after all, is a summer sport. And, as such, the types of cocktails that work best with the sport tend to be tropical and light — some creative varieties of which include the “Grand Slam,” the “Golden Glove” and the “Cooperstown Cocktail.” Each quite nicely match the season and the speed of the game, which is relaxed and patient.
Point is, baseball is a sport truly synonymous with summer, not beer. So it should be treated that way.