The pitch clock speeds up MLB games this season. Fans have less time to savor their favorite adult beverages. Four teams—the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, and Milwaukee Brewers—extend alcohol sales until the eighth inning. Miami Marlins and New York Mets still have seventh-inning cutoffs, but this could change.
Fans generally approve of the shift. Chase Field spectator Tom Lienhardt stated, “Totally makes sense to me. You have to adapt to the shorter length of the games. The sale of alcoholic beverages used to be halted after the seventh inning. One team, the Baltimore Orioles, however, has already begun selling alcohol until the later of the eighth inning or three and a half hours after first pitch.
Through the first two-fifths of the season, the average length of a game has dropped by 31 minutes, putting it on course to record a new low not seen in the sport since 1984. Class A Brooklyn Cyclones general manager Kevin Mahoney said that despite shorter games, concession revenues were not affected by the use of the pitch clock in the minor levels last season.
Some major league clubs have cautiously increased alcohol sales during games, even though this is not necessary at lesser levels of baseball. The Rangers started selling beer and wine during the eighth inning in 2023. Fans didn’t have to leave their seats to get food or drinks, thanks to the club’s in-seat service, and they could even use their phones to do so. According to MLB.com, the Brewers’ decision to continue selling beer beyond the eighth inning was a trial run.
Major League Baseball does not mandate a cutoff time for alcohol sales, but most clubs abide by the seventh-inning rule. After the seventh inning, most stadiums have designated areas where patrons can purchase alcoholic beverages. Drinks can be purchased at VIP and its connected restaurants. MADD Regional Director Erin Payton stated, “If it cuts off sales in the seventh, eighth, or ninth inning, that really doesn’t affect our stance because regardless, we just don’t want people to drink alcohol and then drive home from the game.”