Fans will no longer be allowed to haul massive coolers full of Busch Light and Natty Boh (mmmm, Natty Bohhh) into the famed track on race day. Beer will still be served—at the surprisingly reasonable rate of $3.50—but only in plastic cups. The consequences of this are even more tragic than just a blow to the local ice industry. No one will ever again taste the sweet joy of freedom that comes from running across a row of Port-a-Johns while being pelted by full, unopened cans of beer.
Baltimoreans are up in arms, naturally, threatening Facebook boycotts (oh no!) and alternate celebrations. Tickets sales are down 15% even though the track has hired ZZ Top to provide entertainment. (What?! Who wouldn't pay for that?) Binge drinkers everywhere would like to pour one out for this grand tradition, but it just doesn't work as well with red plastic cups.
"I'm definitely not going this year, and I don't know anyone who is," said James Reiter, 28, of Baltimore. "ZZ Top seems lame to me. Maybe they're trying to calm things down, but the older people who come to enjoy themselves go to the grandstands, not the infield ... It used to kind of belong to Baltimore, and it was our thing. Now it has a more corporate feel to it. That doesn't make sense."
Wait ... raging drunks falling off portable toilets and hitting people with 12-oz. projectiles was Baltimore's "thing"? I thought it was gritty, heart-sickening crime dramas? In any case, the one thing that does make sense is to look back fondly on the era of bruised foreheads, exposed breasts, and hazy, puke-filled memories ... and weep. Our humble photographic tribute is below.
Reining in the Revelry at the Preakness Stakes [NY Times]
Remembering the Terrorlawn [Steady Burn]
I'm Doing It For You, Big Brown! [Deadspin]
[Photos via Baltimore Sun; Baltimore Magazine; Flickr and others. More credits inside.]