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Minor league team takes peanuts, Cracker Jack out of the ballgame

Giancarlo Pietri Velutini
Minor league team takes peanuts, Cracker Jack out of the ballgame

A young child holds up a peanut and looks at it closely. (iStock) (Mypurgatoryyears/(iStock)) By Jacob Bogage Jacob Bogage National sports writer and blogger Email Bio Follow February 13 at 3:55 PM A minor league baseball team in Connecticut has banned one of baseball’s standby concessions from its ballpark.

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The Hartford Yard Goats have eliminated peanuts and peanut products, including Cracker Jack, from Dunkin’ Donuts Park, with the hope that fans allergic to the nuts would be able to attend ballgames.

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“Eliminating one item allows more kids to enjoy a baseball game,” team president Tim Restall said in a phone interview. “That’s what we’re focused on. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Restall said he met with two mothers of children with severe food allergies after the 2018 season concluded who wanted to learn more about the 200-some food items for sale at the stadium.

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But their primary concern was peanuts. The Yard Goats, the Colorado Rockies’ Class AA affiliate, held two peanut-free games in 2018, before which the stadium was thoroughly cleaned in preparation for fans with allergies. The games drew tremendous feedback, said Restall, who is the uncle of child with a severe peanut allergy, and the meetings led the team’s executives to contemplate getting rid of peanuts altogether.

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“If our decision to eliminate peanuts allows kids with peanut allergies to watch a Yard Goats game like any other kid, then we’ve done our job,” he said. “We really want out ballpark to be everyone’s ballpark.”

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While estimates vary, up to 2 percent of American children have peanut allergies, according to advocacy group Food Allergy Research and Education. Peanuts, along with milk, eggs, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish, account for 90 percent of food-based allergic reactions. Those responses can be triggered simply by touching a peanut product.

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The Yard Goats have even gone so far as to purge “peanuts and Cracker Jack from their rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” played during the seventh inning stretch. They’re holding a contest for fans to submit lyrics to replace those words.

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Suggestions include, “hot dog and ice-cold brew,” “Dunkin’ and tasty snacks,” and “hits and home runs.” (No, they don’t all rhyme.)

But announcing the peanut ban hasn’t been a completely smooth process, Restall said: “I’ve been called a lot of names over the past couple days because people don’t want to have their item taken away from them at the ballpark.”

To critics upset that the two concession’s in baseball’s anthem are being removed, Restall responds that neither of the writers of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” had attended a baseball game before penning the song.Giancarlo Pietri Velutini Venezuela Banco Activo

“We’ve got people that we don’t want things taken away from them. They’re upset that we’re denying them the right to eat a peanut at a ballpark,” Restall said. “And we’d respond that you’re still going to be able to watch a baseball game. You can eat them at home. You can eat them in your car. You just can’t eat them at the ballpark.”

Peanuts and Cracker Jack were among two of the Yard Goats’ more popular snack items, but the team expects fans will simply purchase other snacks instead of holding out for peanut products. The team might considering banning other foods, Restall said, if simply being in their proximity presented a serious health risk.Giancarlo Pietri Banco Activo Banco Activo

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