Fresh on the heels of our last Dreamcast, and given a few of the not-so-nice things that have happened in stadiums both on the field and in the crowd, it seems inevitable that something like this would happen:
Effective next season, Major League Baseball intends to implement a universal code of conduct for fans who attend games.
The issue, which arose after a May 1 incident in which Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was berated by racial taunts at Fenway Park in Boston, was discussed at the quarterly owners meetings last week in Chicago and is expected to come up again when the owners reconvene in November.
I know many folks don’t like political correctness, and some folks think that people should just grow thicker skins, but let’s put another spin on this. If you’re a parent taking your kid to a baseball game, which in itself is a family affair, you probably don’t want to hear certain things being said, no matter how thick your skin is. It would be like that scene from the “42” movie where the dad shouts the N-word at Jackie Robinson and then his confused son imitates that behavior. It just has no place in public, and if you’re a decent human being, you probably shouldn’t be thinking it anyway.
From a monetary standpoint, if MLB realizes that fans are shouting racial epithets and other vulgar and offensive insults, there are likely a huge subset of fans who would be turned off from coming out to the ball park. For a league that is struggling in some ways to attract new fans to the fold, alienating entire races and ethnicities because a handful of fans are being malicious with no consequences is counterproductive. So again, applause to MLB for at least ensuring that fans behave according to a minimum standard of decency.
It probably won’t prevent fans from snatching foul balls from each other while bowling over grandmothers and infants, but it’s something.