The Texas Rangers celebrated their league championship victory - with ginger ale! Finally, role models for a sober America. I wonder why we never tried this before?

 

The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, October 30, 2010. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at PsychologyToday.com.

The End of the Devil's Brew - Baseball Bans Booze!

Thank God, as the New York Times notes at the top of its front Web page, "the Texas Rangers' ginger-ale parties are providing an example to Major League Baseball as it makes its latest attempt to crack down on alcoholic victory celebrations."

How long have we tried to put this tiger back in its cage? Why did we ever allow alcohol to become a part of our celebrations? Whatever became of civilization? To quote former baseball player, turned temperance missionary, Billy Sunday, who railed against devil rum until the United States adopted Prohibition:

It is parent of crimes and the mother of sins. It is the appalling source of misery and crime in the land and the principal cause of crime. It is the source of three-fourths of the taxes to support that crime. And to license such an incarnate fiend of hell is the dirtiest, low-down, damnable business on top of this old earth. There is nothing to be compared to it.

There turned out to be any number of ironies in Sunday's anti-saloon lectures: First, crime increased with Prohibition. Second, while financial arguments were forwarded as a spur to Prohibition, it was mainly economic arguments (including lost employment, lost taxes, lost entertainment dollars) that prompted repeal during the Depression. Finally, and most distressingly, although Sunday was known as a moderate drinker as a turn-of-the-century ballplayer - a rarity at that time - he had two alcoholic sons after he himself turned teetotaler.

But - notwithstanding the great Reverend's setbacks, we need to stamp out alcohol wherever people are tempted to use it, to wit:

Replace:

  • Champagne with ginger ale at weddings;
  • Wine with grape juice at Passover Seders and the Eucharist Sacrament;
  • Beer with near-beer at baseball games.

Soon, as Sunday announced to a national radio audience on the eve of Prohibition,

The reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now, women will smile and the children will laugh. Hell will forever be rent.

Hallelujah!

And don't be swayed by messengers from the devil, like baseball great Carlton Fisk, who griped this classic line when the White Sox banned alcohol in the club house (yes, this has been tried before), while contemplating the prospect of non-alcoholic post-game meals,

"Pizza and Sprite just don't make it."

Amen! No, not to Fisk's idolatry; I mean, thank God baseball is finally leading America back to Temperance!