Every year, the Kentucky Derby kicks off the Triple Crown. Every year, thousands of people pack the grandstand at Churchill Downs in very expensive, genteel clothing, and every year even more people pack the infield wearing either costumes, their favorite pair of dirty jeans, or nothing at all. The disparity between the upper class grandstand and the insanity of the proletarian infield couldn't be wider. It also couldn't be much more fun.
That doesn't stop Preakness infield-goers from trying, though. If the Derby starts the summer horse race alcohol-fueled insanity, the Preakness takes it up a notch. There are few notches higher than at Churchill Downs, where pretty much everyone is drunk all day, so Preakness fans had to get creative. They do toilet-runs, where people race across the tops of port-o-johns whle spectators chuck beer cans -- occasionally unopened -- at them. Among other activities.
Naturally, as with all things alcohol, what starts off fun can occasionally get destructive, and after seeing YouTube footage of people being pelted with whole beer cans, Preakness organizers decided to step in. This year? No fun for anyone! Or at least no more bring-your-own-booze.
Yes, Pimlico has decided to cease the BYOB policy, instead deciding to sell 16-ounce beers for $3.50 each. The idea is to prevent the whole unopened-beer-can-in-the-face thing, but a nice little bonus is the fact that now the race can bring in some beer money, too, even if that is a really reasonable price for a 16-ounce beer. Good luck finding that ounce-to-penny ratio in a baseball stadium.
For fans, though, it means paying for beer and, perhaps even worse, standing in line to get that beer. That's one thing about BYOB: beer is always handy. Not so anymore. But knowing Preakness infielders, they'll find some way to make the beer runs fun -- and maybe a little bit destructive, too.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.