A Connecticut minor league baseball team is banning peanuts and Cracker Jack from its stadium to protect fans with food allergies — and it’s even rewriting a classic ballpark song because of it.
As of the 2019 season, the Hartford Yard Goats will no longer sell peanut products at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, according to a team announcement. While other teams have hosted peanut-free nights or maintained peanut-free sections, team officials said they believe they are the first to implement a full ban.
The decision came after Kerry Adamowicz and other local parents approached team officials about their children’s food allergies. Adamowicz’ two-year-old son, Sam, has a life-threatening peanut allergy, and the new policy means he can grow up a baseball fan, she told NBC Connecticut.
“It’s a huge relief,” Adamowicz said. “It’s a really good feeling to come to the park and know that’s one stress that is taken away and we can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy baseball.”
As many as 2.5% of U.S. children are allergic to peanuts, an increase of 21% since 2010, according to a recent estimate from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. A recent study also estimated that about 4.5 million adults are allergic to peanuts, and 3 million are allergic to tree nuts.
Yard Goats President Tim Restall told the Hartford Courant that helping kids and adults with peanut allergies to enjoy the game is more important than selling peanut products.
“The way we look at it, if we eliminate this one item to allow kids to enjoy a baseball game, that’s what it all comes down to,” Restall said. “Why prevent someone from catching a foul ball or getting a picture with [mascots] Chompers and Chew Chew because of a food item?”
And while General Manager Mike Abramson admitted to NBC Connecticut that the team would likely get “flak” for the decision, it’s taking it in stride.
The team is even sponsoring a contest to rewrite the “peanuts and Cracker Jack” lyric in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and the winning submission will be sung at the park this season, the Courant reports.