Monday, August 18, 2014

My Family are Baseball Fanatics!

I've been a fan of Detroit Tigers baseball since I was a little kid.  I have vivid recollections of visiting my grandparents almost every summer weekend during my childhood and our family would BBQ on their back porch while we listened to Ernie Harwell do the play-by-play of the Tigers games that paint a Norman Rockwell styled picture in my mind of those good times gone by.  Some of the best times I remember spending time with my Dad during my youth involve going to see a game at the old Tiger Stadium.  My wife and I went to a lot of baseball games at Comerica Park while we were dating with our mutual interest in the Tigers being a special bond between us.  One of the few date nights we've had out without our kids with us since they were born was to go see the Detroit Tigers play in the World Series.

So when I was recently asked what was my FAVORITE baseball memory there were plenty to choose from.  The one I have to select without a doubt though is taking my children to their first Detroit Tigers game.  I'm not selecting this because I'm nostalgic about officially inducting my kids as fans of our family's favorite team by taking them to their first game at the stadium where the Tigers play.  Rather I am selecting this occasion because not only was it our first family trip  to the ballpark but it also will most likely be one of the last times we can go enjoy a baseball game there together as a family.

When my kids were really little and we weren't taking them out of the house that often, we have twins - a boy and a girl - I watched almost every Tigers game with my son and daughter on television.  I was so looking forward to taking them to their first game at Comerica Park!  My wife and I were even looking into buying a season ticket package for our family - four seats along the first base line.  Than out of the blue my infant daughter had a reaction to some peanut butter she was eating.  She went into anaphylactic shock and almost died!  She was in the hospital for three days recovering from her food allergy after the Emergency Room stabilized her. [CLICK HERE to read my post The Scariest Moment of My Life: The Day my Daughter went into Anaphylactic Shock ] Now going to a ball game isn't just a hassle about finding a parking space it is like walking through a mine field of potential allergic triggers for someone with a peanut allergy.

I hadn't noticed until it impacted me, but Major & Minor League Baseball stadiums are littered with peanut shells.  Look around the next time you go to a game and you may find yourself amazed by the amount of peanut shells lying about.  This creates a problem for many people with food allergies because it is not just eating that can cause a reaction.  The peanut oil from shells can be absorbed into skin causing a food allergy reaction.  This peanut oil is absorbed onto seats, railings, and other fixtures all around a stadium.  Combine that with the potential of food contamination, a product doesn't need to have peanuts in it to cause a reaction if it comes into contact with them during its preparation or packaging, and going to a baseball game can be a ticking time bomb for a food allergy reaction.  While many people associate food allergies with hives and itchy skin a reaction can lead to long term disabilities, comas and even death so it is a very serious issue for families that have to deal with it in their everyday lives.

While baseball is known as the "National Pastime" it is also strongly associated with "peanut and cracker jacks" and Major League Baseball (MLB) as a whole has really not done a very good job at balancing out these two points for people with peanut allergies who would like to cheer on their favorite team at the ballpark.  Often times people with peanut allergies just avoid MLB games because of concerns regarding contact with the shells that litter stadiums or worries that peanuts in the concession stands may contaminate food.  It's unfortunate that many fans because of health concerns that could be alleviated by some basic precautions and accommodations by sporting teams find enjoying the National Pastime at a ballpark with friends and family prohibitive.

The Detroit Tigers host 1 or 2 games per year (out of 81) where people with food allergies can go to watch the games from a suite that has been cleaned for peanut oil residue and restricts food during the game that could cause an allergic reaction for fans in attendance at the game.  So my favorite baseball moment was taking advantage of the opportunity to have a family outing to watch the Tigers play "live" in front of us after learning about my daughter's condition.  Our family are Baseball Fanatics and we had a great time experiencing a game together at the home team's stadium!  A memory I will always cherish.

Unfortunately, based upon a number of factors, including a very limited number of games to choose from to attend (normally very early in the season when it is still very cold out and attendance at the stadium is low); excessive cost of the tickets (you are still paying a premium amount for the "luxury" of sitting in a suite that doesn't include food, parking or any other souvenirs or perks that you can often get in a cheaper ticket package deal) making it cost prohibitive for an average family of four; and that some parts of the stadium experience are still off limits such as the tigers carousel, baseball ferris wheel and kids run the bases; it isn't very likely that we'll be going back as a family very often, if ever, to enjoy a day at the ballpark.  Now I am not necessarily advocating banning of peanuts/tree nuts at stadiums because I understand this affliction doesn't impact a majority of our population but when it does create a life threatening issue for some fans teams could do a better job of making accommodations to help families like ours.  It could be as simple as having a designated food allergy section at games that takes some precautions to make the area safe or extensive as designating the stadium as PEANUT FREE for some games throughout the season.  Various sporting teams are experimenting with these scenarios and hopefully that trend will continue [CLICK HERE to read my post THE BEST PEANUT ALLERGY FRIENDLY TEAMS IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FOR 2014 ].  Until the Tigers become more progressive in being supportive of people with food allergies we'll be watching our beloved Tigers and being Fanatic Fans from the couch in our living room enjoying the games together as a family.

Since we aren't traveling to Comerica Park to watch games we've occasionally picked up souvenirs, baseball caps and team apparel from  This website has a great selection of sports gear and items you can purchase at decent prices. Half the fun of being a fan is promoting and showing off your team pride and can set you up with everything you need to display your fanatic side with more than 250,000 products representing 700 teams.  They get your purchases shipped out fast to you with great tracking updates on your packages.  Plus orders over $50 get FREE shipping.  Anyone who has bought a baseball cap and other team/player branded merchandise knows you can get to a $50 price tag really quickly and easily.  You can shop with confidence with them too as their website utilizes state-of-the-art encryption technology to protect your credit card/personal information and they provide an unconditional satisfaction guarantee on your experiences with them. If you are a sports fanatic than I'd encourage you to check out

One little side note not to deviate too much but I went to a small college that it is not easy to find branded clothes for without going through the university's bookstore.  Many retailers both locally and online carry mostly items focused on the big sports schools like Alabama, Ohio State, University of Michigan and Michigan State, but in addition to the items for professional sports and the power house collegiate sports programs I also found more than 100 items for my alma mater to choose from, including a baseball cap, at  That was one of my biggest surprises with and one of the things that impressed me the most about the site.

If you would like more information about Food Allergies, please visit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) at

Disclaimer:  I did not receive any compensation from for including them in this post. reached out to me as one of an exclusive group of bloggers which they desire to interact with through social media. I agreed to participate in their social media outreach and answer the question they submitted to my blog regarding what my favorite baseball memory was to bring awareness to the food allergy issue and because I am a past customer of the company who has appreciated their excellent customer service.

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