HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — They’re going to have to come up with a new song for the old ballgame in Connecticut.
Baseball fans going to see the Hartford Yard Goats – a Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies – won’t find any peanuts and Crack Jack for sale this year after the team decided to ban products that could harm fans with food allergies.
“Everyone wants their kids to be kids and be part of the group,” said parent Kerry Adamowiz, whose 2-year-old Sam, has a severe peanut allergy. “Our biggest worry is would he even be able to go to a game? Now we know, stress free, he can go to the games with his siblings and we don’t need to worry about it.”
Adamowiz met with the Connecticut team in the hopes of getting a peanut-free section in the 6,000-seat stadium. The Yard Goats decided to adopt the policy throughout the ballpark instead.
The organization Food Allergy Research & Education says one in every 10 children has some sort of food allergy, and up to two percent of children have an allergy to peanuts.
Lisa Gable, executive officer of FARE, says many teams and colleges have made some areas peanut-free, or they have set up special games for fans with allergies. The group is partnering with the NBA for a series of games next month, which will feature, nut-free concession stands, or sections. But, the Yard Goats, she said, are the first team affiliated with a major league to simply ban the nuts completely.
Hartford’s decision takes on added significance, Gable said, because it’s a baseball team, a sport linked by song and tradition to peanuts and Cracker Jack, making it all the more significant, she said.
“We appreciate every team that partners with us in some way and whatever accommodation that a venue deems appropriate,” Gable added. “It’s just important that people know there is a safe space, and where that safe space is going to be.”
Yard Goats President Tim Restall says he has two nephews with food allergies, and the team’s decision was not made to get publicity or drive up business.
As for the classic baseball song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” which starts:
“Take me out to the ball game… Take me out with the crowd… Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack… I don’t care if I never get back…”
The Yard Goats are now running a contest on social media, asking fans to rewrite the key lyrics. The winner will get to lead fans in singing the song on opening day.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)