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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Peanut Free Zone

The Padres have followed the lead of the 2006 Minnesota Twins, offering one home game with a peanut free section. Though this is a positive step, there is room for improvement. First of all, they are offering one game out of 80+. In addition, even with Padres attendance up 8% so far this year they draw only 33,000 per game versus the 42,500 seating capacity. There is an opportunity to have at least one peanut free section for every game.

The one difference here, as compared with the Twins, is that the allergic kids are at least sitting in a proper section of the ballpark instead of being quarantined in a skybox. To enhance safety, the Padres have assigned two additional ushers to the peanut free zone and have a paramedic in close proximity in the event of an allergic reaction.

Allergic fans should understand that there are no guarantees. There is always the risk of a remnant peanut from a prior game, but certainly this is much safer than sitting next to a guy who has a mound of shells at his feet and particles blowing all over those seated nearby.

Though the Padres are taking a step in the right direction, I am looking forward to the first stadium that steps up and ends the sale of unshelled peanuts. This would allow allergic kids to sit throughout the stadium. The Padres designated section 326 as the peanut free zone. From this seating chart you'll notice that section 326 is so deep in the recesses of the upper deck that you might as well be watching from home.

Note: Soon after I made this post I came across another article while visiting ABCPeanuts. It noted that the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL played their entire 2006 home schedule peanut free. Kudos to this CFL team for being the first to step up!

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