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Thirsty Thursdays not just for game nights

July 12, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - As part of one of the Hagerstown Suns' latest promotions, the Distorted Penguins played a concert at Municipal Stadium on Thursday despite the team being in another town that night.

One of the team's more popular promotions over the last several years has been Thirsty Thursday, when all domestic beers are sold for $1 apiece, General Manager Kurt Landes said.

"We have had such a strong crowd. It has become the fun thing to do for the fans," he said.

Fans and team employees noticed that some of those drinking at the event were not paying much attention to the game, he said.

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Team management then decided to try having Thirsty Thursday every week, regardless of whether the team was present, he said. On the weeks when the team was away, a local band would play on a stage off the field, he said.

Team employees and security continued to watch for people who had too much alcohol to drink, he said.

Landes said about 200 people came June 17 to the first Thirsty Thursday on a night the Suns were away.

He was hoping for a larger crowd for last week's event, he said.

At 7:30 p.m., about 25 people were there, with the number of employees appearing to outnumber spectators.

The number of people in attendance increased to about 50 over the next 90 minutes, during which time the Cumberland, Md., rock band with horn players played mostly original songs but drew perhaps the most applause with a fast cover of "Revolution" by the Beatles.

While some in attendance said they were friends and relatives of the band and team employees, most surveyed said they were there for the entertainment and to enjoy the discounted drinks.

"It is a cheap night," Bill Irwin said.

"We like live bands and stuff," said Mike Brierley, who was there with a friend. "They are pretty good."

Landes said local bands have been booked to play at the stadium on July 22 and July 29, and others will play on Thursday nights when the Suns have away games until the end of the season.

While some residents who live near the stadium have complained to the city about a Suns promotion in which fireworks are shot off, John McCune - one of the more vocal residents - said Sunday they had no problem with the Thirsty Thursday promotion.

But a former Suns fan pointed to the new promotion as further evidence that the Suns "have lost their soul."

On an Internet site, Kevin Flynn of Elk Ridge, Md., wrote: "The good news. Thirsty drinkers can now drink beer without the inconvenience of a baseball game."

By phone Sunday, Flynn said he and his wife, who attend about 100 minor league or college baseball games a year, used to be big fans of the Suns. But after ownership of the team changed, there seems to be more emphasis now on "selling cheap beer" and less on the game, he said.

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