UPDATE: I received a statement from a Diamondbacks spokesman:
“At the time of purchase, we ask that those fans sitting in the home plate box, which is visible on TV, wear either neutral colors or D-backs attire which the team will provide.”
So that’s what that was. Jackets are required, as it were. And gambling is illegal at Bushwood. I never slice.
7:57 AM: Two years ago there was a little to-do at Chase Field in Phoenix in which a group of fans were forced/asked/coerced/who knows to change into Diamondbacks gear because they were in front of the cameras in Dodgers gear and Dbacks’ ownership didn’t much care for that. The move was reportedly ordered directly from team owner Ken Kendrick who subsequently had an animated discussion with the fans about it.
The Dbacks were criticized as small-time for that kind of move, as they should’ve been. You take thousands of dollars from some people for primo, behind the plate seats, you shouldn’t care what they’re wearing as long as it doesn’t violate decency standards.
It seems, however, that criticism didn’t bug the Dbacks all that much. At least based on this video. Watch the guy in the background with the Dodgers hat and shirt:
— Steven Gomez (@Bleeedblue_) April 12, 2015
This exchange seemed friendlier than the 2013 exchange. And it’s possible that it involved his friends or something giving him that Dbacks jersey. Maybe it was all an in-joke with coworkers or something. I have sent an email to the Diamondbacks asking for comment regarding the exchange and whether or not it was something directed by the club. Pending that comment, I’ll observe that it certainly fits the pattern we’ve seen with the Dbacks and other sports teams who have, in the past, made a point to get opposing team fans into home team gear when they can be seen on TV. I’d be curious to know if the Diamondbacks are up to their old tricks again here.
If they did give this guy a jersey to wear, I suppose they’ll talk about how it was free or else how he was given some merch or something given to him for his trouble rather than it being some sharply coercive situation. The P.R. in Arizona is better than it used to be, after all. Still, if you own a baseball team and you’re at all concerned that the fans who can be seen on TV are wearing opposing team gear you are, by definition, petty and small time. No matter how friendly the process of getting the fan to change actually is.