Yard Goats to Go Peanut-Free
Do goats eat peanuts? Of course they do. But beginning in the 2019 season, Yard Goats do not.
The Hartford Yard Goats have announced that they plan to make Dunkin’ Donuts Park 100 percent peanut free for the upcoming minor league season in response to the growing number of severe allergies, particularly among children.
Team President Tim Restall stated “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. Why prevent someone from catching a foul ball or getting a picture with Chompers and Chew Chew because of a food item?”
For several years, ballparks across the country have responded to concerns about allergies, hosting peanut-free nights where sales of peanut products are suspended. Some parks have designated certain seating as peanut free. Dunkin’ Donuts Park will be the first ballpark to go peanut-free for an entire season.
“We’re going all-in,” stated General Manager Mike Abramson. With a family with kids who have a peanut allergy, they don’t have to hope their schedule matches up for one game, or hope there are five tickets together in a section of 100 tickets. They can come to any game and sit in any seat.” The team is not aware of any incidents of allergic reactions due to peanuts at the park’s first two seasons, but that may be due to the fact that parents with children who have severe allergies don’t come to the ballpark in order to avoid exposing their children to peanuts.
The move is hardly just a PR stunt. The ballpark sold more than 10,000 bags of peanuts last season at $4 per bag. The food and beverage team is working on new menu items like caramel corn and pre-packaged gluten-free snacks.
Peanuts and baseball are culturally intertwined. After all, the words “buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack” are in the lyrics to baseball’s unofficial anthem, “Take Me out to the Ball Game.” The Yard Goats have plans for that. They will run a contest promotion asking fans for new lyrics. The winning song will be sung all season at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Restall added, “I think when you break it down, when kids are now able to come to the ballpark that weren’t able to come before, because we eliminated one food item, I can’t see anyone having a problem with that.”
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