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June 18, 2007

The Bottle-Cap Conspiracy

Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly thinks the admittedly perplexing practice of removing bottle caps at sporting events arises from some unlikely motivations. But he doesn't seem to have his bottle cap screwed on straight.

In Reilly's June 11 column, entitled "The Fine Print" and parodying the avaricious legalese on the back of sports tickets, he wrote:

ADDITIONALLY: Speculation about how much a thrown water bottle cap would hurt and about how many weapons ticket bearer could conceal in his pocket that would fly a lot better and do more damage than the cap will not be tolerated. Nor will complaints that stadium authority/team doesn't actually remove cap for safety reasons anyway, but removes it so that when bearer kicks over bottle, water will run out and bearer will have to buy another for an additional five dollars.

Many of us have scratched our heads at the experience of being given a bottle of five-dollar Pepsi or seven-dollar Budweiser, sans cap. Do bottle caps really cause that much damage? On their own, probably not. But a nearly-full bottle can turn into a dangerous projectile, according to this FAQ from San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium:

Why do the caps on plastic bottles have to be removed upon purchase?
This is a safety issue. If a plastic bottle is thrown with the cap off, some or most of the liquid will escape making the bottle lighter and less dangerous.

In other words: Remove the cap and the liquid spills out, rendering a thrown bottle relatively harmless to both players and fans. Gelf spoke to a Qualcomm security official who confirmed the FAQ's explanation and added that the policy has been in place for as long as the stadium has served bottled drinks in addition to beverages in a cup ("five to seven years," in his estimation).

Sometimes the more innocuous explanation makes the most sense. We find it difficult to believe that some sports-club apparatchik decided to con spill-prone fans by removing bottle caps, ostensibly for "security" reasons. We still blame him for the advent of the $5 soda, however.

Related in Gelf
Gelf talks to Reilly about his column.







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Comments

- Sports
- posted on Sep 16, 07

I have recently been told that here in Canada we are not to sell bottled pop, watre juice ect.. with the caps on at concerts and sporting events for safety reasons, but not the ones I have read. If you step on an empty bottle without a cap it will crush under your weight, however if it has the lid on, it will roll, causing you to trip. Steping on dicarded lids can also be a tripping hazard.


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