A peanut-free baseball game? Charlotte team plays to fans with nut allergies
What’s baseball without peanuts and Cracker Jacks? For some Charlotte Knights' fans with peanut allergies, it’s a chance to see professional ballplayers live for the first time.
The Knights, a Triple-A minor league team, are hosting fans who have peanut allergies for Sunday afternoon’s 5:05 p.m. game against Norfolk at Knights Stadium in Uptown. Fans can purchase a seat in a section that will be free of peanuts or foods made with peanut products.
“We didn’t do it to sell tickets,” says Knights’ general manager Scotty Brown,“but really to provide a good night for families and promote awareness.”
The Knights, like several minor-league teams, offered peanut-free promotions for several years at their former stadium south of Charlotte, but those involved a peanut-free suite, Brown says. This year’s two peanut-free promotions — the first was earlier this month — are the first in which fans with the nut allergy could sit outside in the stands.
“We learned a few things from the first one,” Brown says. “At the second one, we won’t sell Cracker Jacks or peanuts anywhere in the stadium.”
Peanut allergy advice
“I love it,” he says. “I think some people take entertainment opportunities for granted and forget there are places that families can’t go.”
Atkinson knows those limits well. He’s the father of a 5-year-old girl with a peanut allergy.
Like most parents of children with peanut allergies, Atkinson knows all the precautions his family needs to take no matter where they visit. But what about parents who may be hosting a son or daughter’s friend who has a peanut allergy?
“If you’re going to have children other than your own, ask the question: What do I need to know?” Atkinson says. Here's where to start:
- Ask about allergies. Especially as the school year begins, children may be inviting new friends over to play.
- Look at labels. “Lots of labels have more information,” he says. If there’s anything with peanuts, or that involved machinery that might have touched peanuts, those products need to be put away.
- Find alternative foods. Keep on hand snacks that don't have traces of nuts, so that you can offer everyone the same thing to eat.
Atkinson appreciate places and events, such as the peanut-free ballgame, where he doesn’t need to worry as much about his daughter's allergy. There aren’t many of those for children with severe allergies. “You’re telling your child, ‘You can’t do this,’” he says. “So anytime someone wants to put on a peanut-free night, that’s great.”
Brown said the Knights received good feedback from their first game with peanut-free sections and look forward to the next. "We see this as a way to let people across our community enjoy America's pastime," he says.