By now, I think most of us have heard that the City of Pasadena and the Rose Bowl have implemented a new set of rules applying to tailgaters outside of the Rose Bowl. Starting with last Saturday's game v. SJSU. The Rose Bowl website has the complete 2011 tailgating policy, which ABC7 condensed into a few key points:
- Tailgating will be limited to the front or behind vehicles only.
- Tents no larger than 10-by-10 feet may be erected only in front of or behind your vehicle.
- Open flames are prohibited in any tailgate or parking areas.
- Charcoal grills are prohibited in the recreational vehicle parking area.
- It is requested that glass containers not be used and that all drinks be placed in plastic or disposable cups.
- Trash to be placed in bags and left in your tailgate area or be taken to bins throughout parking areas.
- Playing games involving the consumption of alcohol or using alcohol-related paraphernalia is prohibited.
- Excessively loud amplified music, such as DJs or live entertainment, is prohibited.
- Consuming alcohol in the parking lots after the kickoff is not allowed.
And to pay for all this fun, the city has raised parking fees by an additional $5, making the fee to park at the Rose Bowl $20/game. A few BN'ers and others in the greater Bruin nation have noted their experiences under the new rules over the last couple of days. After one game, at least, it appears that the authorities - or at least those patrolling the golf course and parking lots under their direction - don't know what they are doing.
While some Bruins did not seem affected by the changes, even carrying on with some of the now-prohibited activities (while keeping things low-key), others were not so lucky. At least one group of tailgaters had their cooler searched for glass bottles, while another had a case of beer confiscated by the authorities. The wording of the bottle limitation: "It is requested that glass containers not be used..." leaves room for interpretation, at least. The problem is in guessing how the particular folks patrolling your lot are going to interpret that rule on any given Saturday.
Former Pasadena Star-News and LA Times Editor Robert Rector wrote an op-ed in today's Star-News blasting the changes in tailgating policy. In describing the role of tailgating in the gameday experience of the Rose Bowl, and of college football in general, he tells the story of the fun-loving, peaceful - occasionally a touch obnoxious - crowds that congregate in the Arroyo Seco.
But after being engaged in the Rose Bowl tailgating ritual for 28 years, I can truthfully say I haven't experienced a single incident where my enjoyment was ruined by unruly fans. Not one.
That doesn't mean there isn't trouble occasionally. People drink. Sometimes they get rowdy. It's a football game, not a fashion show.
Pasadena police say they average nine arrests at each game, six for being drunk in public, three for ticket scalping. So that's six belligerent boozers out of a crowd of between 60,000-80,000 people.
Statistically, you're not going to see a lot of bad behavior.
Now, however, because of one ugly incident that occurred last year before a UCLA-USC game in which two people were stabbed, Rose Bowl officials are acting like they're dealing with a Hell's Angels beer bash.
On average, one arrest for drunken behavior out of every 10,000 attendees of a UCLA Football game. But, thanks to the idiots that assaulted a couple of guys before last year's UCLA-USC game, Pasadena has given us a solution without a real problem. With a special assist from the asshole that nearly killed a Giants fan in the Dodger Stadium lot on opening night (after the club had already banned tailgating). Criminals like these are the ones throwing a wrench in the plans of people that actually come to games to have fun, hang around with their friends and a few brews in the morning before heading into the Rose Bowl for an afternoon of football.