Dec 27, 2019

Cricket

The desecration of Bay 13 is a national disgrace

50 Comments

In March 2001, the world reacted with outrage as the Taliban used dynamite to destroy two 1,700-year-old Buddha sandstone statues – the two tallest in the world.

It was needless cultural vandalism, unmatched since until this week, when the famous Bay 13 in the MCG Southern Stand was replaced with a $195 ticketed hospitality area known as the "Boundary Social".

The once culturally rich Bay 13, a haven for some of the most alcohol fuelled mayhem the cricketing world has ever seen, has finally had the last rites read.

This alcohol soaked ground was sacred, and it has been defiled in the name of the almighty dollar.

In recent years, security crackdowns and allocated ticketing have stripped away the soul of the old Bay 13, but this corporate monstrosity, the triumph of the Instagram crowd over the cricket loving public, was the stake through the heart.

Bay 13, despite its regular problems, at least had a culture, in a country lacking one. I remember my first time in Bay 13 as a sixteen-year-old, impossible now as the "Boundary Social" is over 18 only, as a riot to the senses.

There was cheering, drinking, laughing, Mexican waves and the ultimate ritual, the beer snake.

Alongside the desecration of the holy ground of Bay 13, the crack down on the beer snake shows how Cricket Australia has no sense of the rituals of cricket.

The beer snake, constructed by putting together empty plastic beer cups, is a triumph of people working together in harmony. There was solidarity in all individually contributing to a work of art. Each beer cup becoming greater than the sum of its parts.

I remember the pride when the first beer snake I contributes to reached over seven meters. It was the day I became a man.

The police of course came to break it up, after all, no one was hurting anyone, and everyone was having fun, so it obviously had to end.

‘We’ve got to stop people drinking too much’ say Cricket Australia, as they count their millions in alcohol advertising money and drink full strength beer in the corporate areas.

But Cricket Australia can't ignore the fact that the beer snake is the only cultural artifact Australia has ever produced, outside of Indigenous culture.

Bay 13 gave us other rituals too, the crowd following Merv Hughes' warm up stretches and that night when we all got a bit rowdy and threw some things on the ground, so Shane Warne was forced to come out of the change rooms to tell us to stop, putting on a helmet as a joke.

Look, it wasn’t perfect, but Bay 13 had a pulse in a game often looking for one. Sure, a lot of its practices were out of date in the modern era, but if you ended things because of that, there wouldn’t be a church open in this country.

Bay 13’s replacement with a sterile area promising 'premium beverages and gourmet grazing menu to purchase' is easily the worst thing to happen to culture this year, which is amazing Cats the movie came out.

Grassroots fans have lost another battle, in a war that hasn’t been going out way for some time.

Titus’ new book Please, Gamble Irresponsibly: The rise, fall and rise of sports gambling in Australia is now out. You can order it now.

COMMENTS

Brenton Chartres

Dec 28, 2019

Another corporate dagger through the very soul of ordinary Australians. A shameless money grab once again.
RIP Bay 13 another piece of Australian history gone!!

Couch Specimen

Dec 28, 2019

Come on Titus, having fun at the cricket is an outdated archaic concept.
How else are the CA executives meant to drive people out of the grounds and onto the couches to indulge in the offerings of their telecast partners of Foxtel & Kayo where the broadcast $$$ can be increased by increasing viewership & of course Ch7 who can then pay more for the rights by having more people seeing those Domain ads about player property purchases? And of course we cant forget those Gillette ads as they know what is required for men to be men.

Andre Morony

Dec 28, 2019

I think this even surpasses the demise of the sacred Doug Walters stand at the SCG for sheer bloody minded cultural vandalism! Keep your bloody hands off the bar below the old Adelaide Oval scoreboard!

WA Bogan

Dec 28, 2019

The fact that CA's CEO can even say something like below, in response to the idea of a 4 day test match, says that they're in a race with the AFL to become the most poorly led / misguided sports organisation in Australia:

“I think as we explore possibilities in the next cycle from 2023 to 2031, it’s very important we ask ourselves the right questions about cricket,” Roberts said.

FFS what the hell does he mean? How does someone that illiterate even get a job, let alone as a CEO?

Why not say "yeah, we'll look into it".

I can't wait for CA to introduce "six and out" and "tippety run" if games get too one-sided.

Justin Karcher

Dec 28, 2019

Your best ever Mr T. Well played, well played!

DC

Dec 28, 2019

I remember seeing the anaconda of all beer snakes on the southern hill at Adelaide Oval as a 14 year old. It was a beautiful thing in the 42C heat watching Kim Hughes hit a double hundred. Sorry to see Bay 13 go, and the WACA, and the Doug Walters stand and many other things we love all for greed.

Greta

Dec 28, 2019

How dare you

Harvey Lang

Dec 28, 2019

We need a Purge of the political leftish policy makers !! Hopefully it won’t be to far away as we saw people being evicted for skulling a few beers and laughing by 3 or 4 , dare I say , newly arrived Australians with security outfits on !!
I will wait for the outcry over my comments 😂

tony

Dec 28, 2019

Some spelling mistakes, unlike you. Otherwise a fine article and the MCC/Cricket Australia should be ashamed of themselves.

david Lnidne

Dec 28, 2019

I agree Mr.T. Harvey Lang, blaming the left for favouring corporate profit over organic culture is as moronic as it is typical. Why not educate yourself?

Bennocuredmyinsomina

Dec 28, 2019

I don’t think this is a result of lefties, more of corporate kissing puritanical right

Greg Marshall

Dec 28, 2019

What next, surely not the Behavioural Police catching us like the AFL.

Adam (U.K.)

Dec 28, 2019

Sorry state of affairs I grew up with tales of bay 13 being told by Ritchie, tony etc. Don’t despair if we can get out of Europe I’m sure you can get back something as iconic as Australia Day that should be celebrated by all cricket fans around the world- power to the cricket loving people .

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Dec 28, 2019

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Macca

Dec 29, 2019

It took me a long time to believe what I was seeing and even longer to believe it was BAY 13.
I suppose security there would take a dim view of some of the funniest and cleverest dialogues from both sides of the fence.
One Tony Grieg would turn in his grave to know that this great aussie tradition is gone.
Tony thrived on the banter and was very rarely outdone.
Or the whole bay staying for an hour after stumps and celebrating D K LILLEE knocking over Sir Viv last ball of the day, and where did we find room for our old foam eskies we were allowed to bring
RIP Bay 13 , the memories will live forever.
MACCA

Norm Pullin

Dec 29, 2019

Mate, love your work. Would be even better if you proofread it.

Jack

Dec 29, 2019

Our Boxing Day Test rice salad fight would have made great TV in 1974.

Boatster

Dec 30, 2019

SShhh, pretty sure no CA exec has ever been in the outer at Adelaide Oval. They probably don't know that there is a bar under the scoreboard

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Fnermermahan

Jan 07, 2020

Harvey Lang, sport gets more and more corporatised with every passing day, and you blame the left?

Better send your political compass back for a service.

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DP

Jan 23, 2020

I led the majority of chants and 3 rows of bogan mates on call of seats 4 rows from the boundary were ticker taped off at first call run and we were at the gate at 7-8am every ODI from 1998-2004 first in line ..... to stir up old Margaret (boss lady) (anyone who knows anything about the MCG knows her (ticket woman nazi))
I wore a plain VB T SHIRT and still have the record of earliest kickout 1 hour before the first ball !?
Everyone remember BIG FISH
Could skoll a beer in 1.5 seconds
Me and him used to get thrown out and then go have a beer at the Royal or the Cricketers and wait for the cop changeover and change shirts and go back in
And on second removal
Another change of shirts
More waiting time and paint of faces to blend in even more
I used to flip a 20 to the guy that owned the donut truck at Gate 6 to let me stash my stash or re-entry garments and straight liquor bottles under his van every ODI

I threw the towel in when the jacks started watching from the second level and started kicking out people for cricket enthusiasts simply getting punters around them to stand up to start a decent Mexican wave

That was is it for me

And yes I was in the thick of it when Warnie walked up to calm the 13 crowd

That was fucking awesome and the most intense sporting moment you could ever imagine

The tension and power that the people had (drunk or not drunk) to flip the middle finger to the blue and white and authority in general whilst supporting the greatest assembly of One Day International Australian Cricketing Sportsmen simply by sitting in a tiered section of the MCG and having a fucking great day out with your mates was simply electrifying for an 18+ year old

Political correctness gone mad now
Cotton wool
Wrap up your kids
Australian culture destroyed by greed
The MCG staff / ceo / board should be hung

FUCKING LITERALLY

DONT BITE THE HAND THAT FUCKING FEEDS YOU

DP
(VB)

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