Don’t Buy Me Peanuts or Cracker Jack: Baseball Stadiums Offer Allergy-Friendly Seats

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Mike Segar / Reuters

A vendor sells Cracker Jack bags in the upper deck during the MLB American League opening day baseball between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium in New York, March 31, 2011.

Not only can it prove tough to avoid peanuts at a Major League Baseball stadium, it also can be dangerous for those so allergic that airborne peanut residue causes intense reactions. But just because fans can’t always embrace peanuts doesn’t mean they don’t want to indulge in a little baseball.

There are enough peanut-fearing, baseball-loving fans out there that teams have started to host peanut-free seating zones on specific days of the schedule. To clear the air of the offending legume, crews completely clean out suites and invite fans who have requested the service, also offering them a peanut-free menu to snack from.

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These peanut-free zones don’t solve the issue of getting to the suite in the open-air environment, but once there, as in the case of the New York Mets, crews have power-washed and enclosed a 63-seat luxury suite, allowing some sanitary wipe-toting parents a little reprieve from the constant cleaning required to keep their children free of allergies.

The New York Yankees will join the fray this year, knowing that at least some of the three million Americans allergic to peanuts must also be Yankees fans. Last year, the Yankees offered some seats where peanuts weren’t sold, but not the fully enclosed set-up they plan for this season.

For lifelong fans learning their young kids have these strong allergies, the peanut-free areas have generated quite an excitement, reports the New York Post. New Yorker Cathy Pierorazio told the paper she has tried to offer to buy those around her at Yankee Stadium pretzels or popcorn instead of peanuts to keep her son clear of allergies. That doesn’t always work, forcing her to leave the park.

While some fans want permanent, open-air peanut-free zones and others think peanuts should be allowed free reign in the National Pastime, the waiting lists for the peanut-free zones are already filling up in New York.

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