The Diamondbacks say their rule had nothing to do with that fan changing out of his Dodgers gear

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On Monday we all enjoyed the scene in which a Dodgers fan at a Diamondbacks game was, apparently, asked to change out of his Dodgers gear and into Diamondbacks gear behind home plate.

That day I got a statement from the Diamondbacks that did not address this specific instance but did address their rule. The statement: “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.”

Ken Rosenthal got further comment from the team last night. Under the headline “Diamondbacks had nothing to do with fan covering up Dodger blue,” the spokesman said:

“At the time of purchase, fans who are looking to buy those seats are informed that we prefer that they wear D-backs or neutral attire. We offer them alternative locations or even provide them with team gear.

“However, should they purchase them and choose to wear opposing team gear, they are permitted to do so. That was also the case this past Sunday when a fan made his way into the box to say hello to a friend. In that instance, they joked around with their usher before another fan sitting in those seats gave him her jersey in jest.”

Well, it’s certainly the case that the Dbacks aren’t sending shock troops down to the box seats to enforce their home team gear preferences. But is it really truthful to say that their preference “had nothing to do” with the visuals we saw from Sunday’s game?

What’s the nature of the “jest” here? Some “ooooh, you’re gonna get in trouble!” joke among Dbacks fans, which leads them to give the Dodgers fan the jersey? Heck, that’s the BEST scenario. That the fans are mocking their own club’s dumb rule.

Another possible scenario: some of those fans legitimately felt pressured, however mildly, to have their Dodgers fan friend who came down and sit with them for a minute change into Dbacks gear while he did so. A “well, I suppose we won’t get in real trouble here, but better safe than sorry” gesture. Which is most definitely an effect of the dumb rule.

Either way, whether the club’s dumb rule is being openly mocked by fans or being complied with out of mild unease, it is still causing fans of opposing teams to do dumb things. And, of course, it is still the Dbacks’ dumb rule.

Oh, I’m sorry. Preference.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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