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.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.

Video: Phillies rookies dance to “Greased Lightning”

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As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.

The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.

Video with sound is not currently allowed to be embedded, so click here for that.

As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”

The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense: