Can a team really ban a fan from a ballpark for life?

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In the post about the guy who rushed the field in the wake of the Santana no-hitter, we learn — as we often learn in such cases — that the fan had been “banned for life” from Citi  Field. Which led to a question from commenter number42is1:

Can someone help me understand how these “banned for life” things are upheld? I worked with someone that did the same thing and was banned for life but he goes to games all the time.

Later, I was asked this on Twitter:

Good questions! And ones I often wondered about myself.

My guess: it’s not really enforceable.  Oh, sure, your name is probably placed in the team’s computer system and if you try to buy tickets from the team or at MLB.com you’re gonna get flagged. But we all go to games where someone else buys the tickets, right?  It’s not like they have a meeting before the gates open 81 times a year and ask the gate agents to memorize your picture and keep an eye out for you.  You could go if you want. Just keep cool and don’t do anything else dumb.

Commenters (and Nick on Twitter again) later added the point that, if you are caught at the park after being banned, you could be subject to criminal trespassing charges so, yes, there are consequences if you try to beat the ban.  But again, they gotta catch you first and that seems unlikely as long as you behave yourself. And as long as your previous antics didn’t make you so famous and recognizable that someone spots you and rats you out.

But the teams probably have a better reason than punishment for announcing such lifetime bans: deterrence. The not unreasonable hope that, if people believe being a jerk at the park will lead to something as scary sounding as a “lifetime ban,” they may refrain from such jerky behavior. Keeping in mind that those who need such deterrence aren’t the types who think through the enforceability of such beasts like we’re doing here.

Other places with lifetime bans: casinos. But I have this feeling they’re another kettle of fish. They have so many cameras everyplace that they probably do know who you are and see you when you walk in.  I saw “Ocean’s 11,” so my knowledge of this is just as thorough as my medical knowledge in the Niese post.

It’s serious business. Don’t mess with ’em.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.