One Quick Thing: Erik Bakich is right, Doug Kingsmore Stadium needs more rowdy

While commenting about the Cajun Cafe, Clemson Baseball head coach Erik Bakich mentioned that he would like to see beer sales because the crowd would be rowdier.
Clemson Head Coach Erik Bakich at fall baseball practice September 28, 2023.
Clemson Head Coach Erik Bakich at fall baseball practice September 28, 2023. / Ken Ruinard - staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

Clemson Baseball head coach Erik Bakich went public with an opinion that might not be well received by some Tiger fans: he wishes Clemson would sell beer at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

This has been a subject of discussion for years with football and basketball, but I am not sure I recall it coming up a lot with baseball. Usually, the reason people support beer sales at games is because of the potential revenue or simply because they enjoy having a beer while they watch the games.

Bakich has a different reason. He thinks DKS needs to be more rowdy. While discussing the Right Field Cajun Café, Bakich mentioned that he thinks their energy is something the stadium needs more of.

"I always joke. If I ever get ejected, that is where I am going. But it is great. I wish we sold beer. This place would get even more rowdy. It is a rowdy section. It gives us energy. We hear them, feel it, and love it."

Erik Bakich

This statement by Bakich first struck me as odd because most of the people who oppose beer sales at football and basketball oppose it because they think the crowd would become too rowdy, and they might be right. I don’t think many people think Death Valley lacks energy. While I agree some games against mid-majors can be ‘unrowdy’ at Littlejohn Coliseum, I think there isn’t a problem with energy at most basketball games when the team is competitive.

This statement by Bakich did trigger a recent memory of something I have heard lately that I hade never heard before. Apparently, the crowd at DKS isn’t the liveliest bunch. In fact, one Clemson personality plainly said Doug Kingsmore has been as dead as a doornail at times this season.

I’ve heard or read that a few times lately, but I didn't know if it was fair. I didn’t think I had enough experience to judge.

When I was a student at Clemson, I rarely missed a football game. I went to basketball games when possible, but my schedule often dictated that I had other things to do (darn classwork). When I was a freshman, the soccer games were practically in my backyard, so I saw quite a few of those too.

Baseball was the sport I regret not attending more when I had the chance. I did go to a few games, and they were fun.

The point of this is to explain that I have been to games at Doug Kingsmore, but I am not a regular. Nor have I been to many college baseball games at other schools that would be considered peers, such as other ACC or SEC programs, so I don't have a good base of knowledge to understand how crowds at other programs conduct themselves.

Since then I have started to pay closer attention to these details and I see where Bakich is coming from. The environment at most SEC games is much more like what you would expect to see from football or basketball.

In Bakich I trust, and if he thinks this is a place where Clemson could improve by having a crowd that is more fired up during games, then I support it. I just don’t know if there will be enough support for Bakich’s suggestion about beer sales to make a difference.

Nationally, many programs now sell beer at sporting events, including baseball. The other major university in the state, South Carolina, began selling beer and wine at sporting events a few years ago. They have guidelines in place to keep the ‘rowdiness’ under control. Whether they have been successful is a matter of opinion.

Ultimately, society has evolved and so has baseball. Clemson Nation lost their collective minds a week ago when a bat flip resulted in an ejection. When I was at Clemson in the 1990s, a bat flip was almost a lock for ejection. If the umps didn’t eject the player, the other team responded with a pitch between the shoulder blades the next time the batter stepped up to the plate, and nobody had a problem with that.

Around the southeast, we can see that college baseball is ready for rowdy. I just don’t know if Clemson is ready for it or not. I hope they are sooner than later. I think Bakich has proven he knows a thing or two about college baseball and I don’t think he would have spoken up publicly if it wasn’t a real factor.