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.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.