Yankees Swindle Fans by Banning Sunscreen

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I couldn’t believe this article when I read it (Doctorow, Cory. “New York Yankees ban sunblock “to fight terrorism.”” BoingBoing.com, July 24, 2008.). The Yankees are swindling fans out of their money, and perhaps endangering their health, by barring fans from bringing sunscreen into Yankee Stadium, citing “terrorism” concerns. You can buy sunscreen inside the stadium, of course, 1 ounce will cost you $5 (FYI: that’s way overpriced).

Have the Yankees and their security team completely lost their mind? Is our society now so paranoid about terrorism that people must risk skin cancer for safety?

I urge the Yankees, and Commissioner Selig, to immediately abolish this policy. MLB has done a good deed in the past by promoting sunscreen use, and baseball fans should not be forced to pay the Yankees money in order to protect their skin from UV rays during Major League Baseball games.

(Photo Credit: www.shopbug.com and Banana Boat)

Discussion Question:

1.) How outraged are you about the Yankee’s ban of sunscreen on a scale of one to ten (with one being “not outraged at all” and ten being “extremely outraged”)?

MLB Teams Create Peanut-Free Sections

In the spirit of accommodating fans with unique needs, teams like the Mariners, Cardinals, and Twins have created “Peanut-free” seating sections during some games so fans with peanut allergies can attend games without fearing for their safety. Here’s the article about it: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Top-O-The-Order-DON-T-buy-me-some-peanuts-and-?urn=mlb,95734.

What are your thoughts on this move?

Do the Twins Cheat by using the Metrodome’s Ventilation?

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Besides fans’ perception that players have “cheated” by using performance enhancing drugs in the past, other instances of cheating continue to remain under the radar in Major League Baseball. In particular, I’d like to call attention to suspicions that the Minnesota Twins have manipulated the Metrodome’s ventilation/air conditioning system to push the Twins’ own fly balls out of the park, and maybe even push back opponents’ long fly balls from the fence. Where’s the proof you ask? While no concrete evidence has emerged, since 1987 Major League managers Whitey Herzog, Bobby Valentine, and Alan Trammell have all publicly questioned whether the Twins’ use to the Metrodome air blowers to cheat. Read all about it with the link to an ESPN article about it here: (Associated Press. “Trammell challenges use of ventilation.” June 6, 2004.).

Only the people who have ever operated the Metrodome’s air conditioner on/off switch really know the truth. Perhaps MLB should talk to these people (if they haven’t already)?

After originally posting this entry in July 2008, I came across this quote by Ozzie Smith on Wikipedia:

A couple of the balls we hit in the Metrodome were hit solidly, but once they got to a certain point in the outfield, they seemed to stop. Yet some balls that the Twins hit, once they got to the same point, seemed to carry. I don’t have any proof that it was the blowers, and it may or may not be true, but in the back of my mind I will always wonder whether that had something to do with why the Twins were such a different team at home and on the road.” – Ozzie Smith

Photo Credit: Wikipedia user Wahkeenah, from the English Wikipedia

Discussion Question:
1.) If you have been to a Twins game at the Metrodome, do you think it is possible the Twins use the ventilation to their advantage?

MLB Goes Green

Interesting news that MLB is trying to implement environmentally friendly (“green”) ideas across the League in partnership with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Buying “carbon offsets” seems more than a little dubious, but actively prompoting recycling inside stadiums, espcially considering all of the beverage containers used by fans during any given game, is a simple and logcial step that’s a plus for everyone. Here the link to the article:

http://greenopolis.com/myopolis/blogs/hlund05/greening-americas-pastime

Dicussion Question:

Attendance Up, In-Stadium Spending Down in 2008

Good and bad news about the state of MLB in 2008 so far. A Reuters article by Ben Klayman says that attendance will be up, but gives examples of sports fans who are spending less inside the stadium. Here’s the all-important exact quote from the article featuring MLB President Bob DuPuy:

“Baseball, for example, is on track for attendance topping 80 million and revenue of $6.08 billion, both records, despite “some modest decline” in merchandise sales, MLB President Bob DuPuy said.”(Klayman, Ben. “Sports attendance up, hot dog spending down.” June 30, 2008. Reuters.)

It’s about time more fans wised up to the outrageous in-stadium prices some MLB teams have instituted for years. I know at my local MLB stadium, I almost never buy food or drinks inside the stadium. In fact, between about 2001 and 2005, I would only buy one order of nachos out of the twenty or more games I went to per year because the price was so outrageous (a sort of convoluted combination of a`mini protest/tradition). The point is, it shouldn’t take an economic recession to offer fans a break on food and soda prices. What about beer prices you ask? Well, that’s another issue for another day.

Discussion Questions:

1.) Do you believe MLB teams should lower food and merchandising prices in stadiums during the remainder of the 2008 season?

Cetral Locale for Replay, Implemenation Possible in ’08

More great news about Instant Replay in MLB. USA Today is reporting that the system will mirror the NHL and use a central reviewing location (in NYC), and could possibly be implemented as soon as August of this year! The only “bad” news; replay will only be used for home run calls, at least initially. Here’s the article link: (Nightengale, Bob. “Upon further review, instant replay is on its way for HRs.” USA Today, June 16, 2008.)

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter that initially only home run calls will be reviewable. This is a first step in the right direction, and will pave the way for it to be acceptable for all parties involved to review other types of plays, excluding ball and strike calls.

Discussion Question:

The Never-ending Battle Against Banned Substances

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Check out this article from Newsweek about some players getting around the 2005 amphetamine ban by taking Ritalin: Euchner, Charles. “Baseball’s Other Drug Problem.” Newsweek, Feb. 6, 2008. This is just another sign that MLB will have a never-ending battle against banned substances, just like the rapidly evolving battle between computer hackers and the people hired to keep websites safe. Will baseball adapt quickly enough to ferret out new ways around steroid and substance testing?

Photo Credit: flickr user druchoy.