Proposal tries to curb clinch game drinking

CHICAGO As the Cubs prepare for the playoffs, city officials are trying to make sure any celebrations around the Friendly Confines are orderly. They are asking bar owners in the neighborhood to curb beer sales only on nights the Cubs are in a position to clinch a playoff series.

Anyone who has been to a home Cubs' playoff game knows it can get just as crazy outside Wrigley Field as it does inside the ballpark. Thousands of people who don't have tickets to the game come to Wrigleyville to cheer on the North Siders while throwing back a few cold ones with fellow fans. When the Cubs win the celebration often spills onto the street.

But now the city may try and tone down the celebration by asking Wrigleyville bars to stop serving alcohol after the seventh-inning stretch. The liquor policy is already in place inside the ballpark.

"It's wrong. Why stop something that has been going on for years? Especially when it's a tradition, right?" said Mack Exson, Wrigleyville resident.

"I think if you're going to go out and drink, it's your responsibility to be safe. Find a safe home, take a taxi home. It's up to you if you're going to be responsible to get home," said Cori Blackburn, Lakeview resident.

The proposal wouldn't apply to all playoff games -- only games when the Cubs would have the opportunity to clinch a series. Liquor sales would resume when the game ends.

Some Wrigleyville residents say the proposal is a good idea.

"If they are doing it at the games, then why not do it in the neighborhood? You never know how it could turn out in the end and what kind of attitudes might change throughout the game. Alcohol can only make it worse," said Grant Kroll, Wrigleyville resident.

Others say it actually might have the opposite effect of what the city is going for.

"I think it's pretty ridiculous because most people are just going to -- if they know there is going to be a ban, they are just going to stock up or drink more before the seventh inning. You might actually encourage more binge drinking rather than prevent it," said Nathan Hanak, Wrigleyville resident.

Wrigleyville bars are in Alderman Tom Tunney's ward. He says bar owners wouldn't be required to participate but says there is a chance some might at least consider it.

"I know that our businesses are responsible alcohol servers. They are going to figure out -- make sure that their environment is safe, their community is safe, and they are going to work with city departments in every way they can to make sure that their establishments -- their establishment is safe," said Ald. Tom Tunney (44th).

If the White Sox make the playoffs, city officials are expected to make a similar proposal to bars and restaurants outside U.S. Cellular.

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