The Bluefield Blue Jays (rookie; Appalachian League) are once again selling ballpark beer at Bowen Field, but some residents are unhappy with the decision.
Beer is a major revenue source for any Minor League Baseball team, and the decision by the Blue Jays to stop selling it certainly impacted the bottom line. And, even in the likes of Mercer County (which is not a dry county), fans expect a cold one at the ballpark.
The Blue Jays are reintroducing beer in a limited fashion, selling it only in a beer garden and in certain sections. Still, that’s not stopping critics from saying beer at a family-friendly venue is inappropriate:
As the local family resource network for Mercer County, Greg Puckett’s agency is speaking out in opposition to the beer sales. Puckett said officials at Community Connections are very concerned, and “somewhat disappointed,” in the decision by the Blue Jays management team to sell beer. Puckett said children attend the baseball games, and will be exposed to alcohol. He adds that Bowen Field is also located directly adjacent to Lotito Park and the popular Yakkity Yak playground for children — posing additional risks to children and their families.
“I have been to Charleston, and the West Virginia Power games, and they sell alcohol,” Puckett said. “But those are large metropolitan areas. They are not the community-based environment we typically find in the Appalachian League. We don’t feel it (beer) promotes the right family-style environment for our community.”
We’ll see at the end of the year whether beer helped Bluefield attendance. The neighboring Princeton Rays, also in Mercer County, do not sell beer — but that’s because the local school district owns Hunnicutt Park, and beer sales are prohibited on school property.
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