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.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.