Phillies Fan Booted From Citi Field!

Reed Frazier, the camera operator for St. John’s University’s Office of Athletic Communications, who happens to be a Phillies fan, was asked to leave Citi Field during Sunday’s game — because he was wearing a Phillies jacket.

… I, along with the Office of Athletic Communications, was to help in broadcasting the game online via St. John’s University’s sports website.

The weather was less than desirable; mist was coming down which created a cool dampness outside. We had been advised to wear St. John’s University polo shirts, provided for us, to the game as well as rain proof jackets. Because of this, I wore my Phillies jacket to the field.

… It was after the ceremonial first pitch (John Franco) and the national anthem that I was approached by another co-worker who insisted that I put on the jacket. He informed me that he is a Mets fan and he understands where I am coming from, but that I have to put on the jacket. I told him that in no way did it affect how I was to do my job, therefore I could not justify doing so. I said, “If I was wearing a Mets jacket, would this even be a problem?” He told me everyone had to wear the jackets. I pointed out that two of my fellow student workers were wearing their own jackets. I even offered to compromise by wearing the St. John’s University jacket beneath my Phillies jacket. He dismissed the idea and left.

I returned my attention to my camera. Moments later, the head of the department rumbled up the platform and stood beside me. I looked to my side.

He said, “You have to take off your jacket.”

I replied, “In no way does it affect the job I am doing. It is a nonissue.”

He responded by saying, “It is an issue with the Mets. You can either put on the jacket or leave.”

“Then, I’m leaving.”

I walked over to Paul, shook his hand and told him it was a pleasure to meet him. In doing this, the head of the department reaches from behind and yanks my press pass out of my free hand. I exited the platform and began to walk to the doors to leave. The head of the department followed me.

“Are you really going to do this?”

I replied, “Yes.” Then, I left the building.

If you read the entire article, you can get the gist that this fan was not looking to intentionally tick anyone off, but at the same time wasn’t about to be told what he should or shouldn’t be wearing. I can’t really blame him — especially considering that this was a college game, with no actual Mets players in sight.

There’s a possibility that people were just yanking his chain, and that no Mets official actually insisted that he take off the jacket. Indeed, I’m sure if this creates a storm (pardon the pun … St. John’s Red Storm, get it?), the Mets will say they never did such a thing and someone must have been playing a prank.

In any case the kid was pretty calm and collected about the entire ordeal.

Because I was not informed of the Mets organization’s disapproval of my attire firsthand, I can only speculate if there really was an issue with the Mets, or if it was St. John’s Athletic Department’s last ditch efforts in forcing me to remove my jacket. Every Mets staff member that I spoke with was very pleasant and accommodating. I appreciated their courteousness and lack of judgment.

The fact that I was removed from Citi Field for not removing my jacket is absurd to me. I was working at a NCAA baseball game, not even a Mets game. There should never have been an issue in such a setting. I highly doubt an event similar to this would occur at Citizen’s Bank Park at a Phillies, or a non-Phillies game.

I did not wear the jacket to incite people. By no means am I a confrontational individual. I am proud of my baseball team, just as the Mets fans are of theirs. I would have acted in the same way regardless of my attire. I stood my ground for what I believe in, and did so without anger or hostility.

Hat tip to John Fitzgerald for this story.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 April 1, 2009 at 12:49 pm
    This kid’s a typical Philly punk…..obviously not giving a flyin’ flip about St. John’s and how their Athletic Department is perceived at all.

    I know that he “has every right” to wear the jacket as a fan — hell, Yankee fans were even at Citi, sporting their gear on the 1st opening of the gates.

    This kid’s there are a representative of The Red Storm. At last check, anyone associated with a specific program is required to wear the school’s gear at events…even at low-level schools. ESPECIALLY if you’re going to be out in the open, amongst the masses — and with a credential.

    2 words: Attention whore.

    3rd word: Agenda.

    Who cares if he wears Philly gear to Citi Field? The fact that his school wanted him to put on school-gear is their mandate….he obviously wanted to be a “rebel” without a clue.

    15 minutes of fame are certainly up.

    *turns page*

  2. joe April 1, 2009 at 1:11 pm
    Interesting perspective. I can see the attention thing. As for wearing specific gear because he’s representing the Red Storm, I’m not sure I agree.

    If this is true: “We had been advised to wear St. John’s University polo shirts, provided for us, to the game as well as rain proof jackets.”

    AND the rain-proof jackets were not provided, then I can’t blame the kid for wearing his Phillies jacket.

    If in fact this kid was acting the way he said he was in his article — meaning, simply wearing the jacket and not acting like a typical obnoxious Phillie fan, then I really do not see why he had to get flak from school officials, the Mets, or anyone else. It was a college game, not a Mets game. The kid was going to be in a press box, not parading around the stadium, so who cares?

    Had it been the “real” Opening Day, and the focus was to be on the Mets, and the kid was supposed to be covering the Mets, then I can understand making him take off the jacket. I can also understand if St. John’s provided a jacket BEFORE this big day (as opposed to day of). And if he was issued a jacket the day before or earlier, then I’ll agree that he’s a rebel with a clue and looking for attention.

  3. Walnutz15 April 1, 2009 at 1:30 pm
    St. John’s came over and PROVIDED him with an alternative jacket…..and he still refused.

    Obviously, to-MAY-toe, to-MAH-toe here……but I just see anyone that looks to get a “cheap thrill” like that, to be the douche we already think you are.

    As a fan, do whatever you want.

    As an employee, do what your boss asks of you….

    Especially when they ask.

    No big deal to me. Obviously, it was a big deal to others….to the tune of them actually coming up and asking him to switch jackets.

    To me: that’s a sign of……okay, this went to a certain point: I got my allegiance across — now it’s time to be professional again. (I understand he wasn’t disruptive or anything. Kudos to him….as he would’ve had his arse beaten.)

    Best believe that SJU is revising their Standards and Guidelines…if they haven’t already done so.

    I hate people like this……no shame in saying it, either.

  4. joe April 1, 2009 at 1:47 pm
    Yeah, St. John’s provided him a jacket AFTER he showed up at the park. That’s crap, if you ask me. If the school wants to be represented in a certain way, they should set the standards and issue the attire BEFOREHAND, and make EVERYONE adhere to it. What SJU did instead was a knee-jerk reaction to an outside influence, and it was executed poorly. A more effective and less deplorable response would have been to issue the same jackets to everyone on staff.

    And if the kid showed up in Mets jacket, he wouldn’t have been issued Red Storm attire — guaranteed. How does that make sense?

    My personal opinion? Yeah, the kid is a typical Phillie fan jerk for wearing the jacket. But the school’s response was just as irresponsible. And if the mandate really did come from the Mets, shame on them too.

  5. Walnutz15 April 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm
    I don’t disagree, Joe. Equal blame, though….in my most honest of opinions.

    P.S. — I’m not sure how April Fools-ish this one is: however, a friend of mine at MLB just texted me — “Peavy to the Brewers sometime today is what I’m hearing.”

    A guy looking out for me as soon as their hiring freeze is up, so I’m taking this as more credible than just a mid-day joke text.

    We’ll see?

  6. Tom April 1, 2009 at 11:19 pm
    This guy was discriminated against and action should be taken against the department head. Clear rules should have been noted prior to the game or UNiversity jackets should have been provided. If after the fact he was asled to wear a St. Johns jacket instead of the Phillies one, then all of the other co-workers from St. Johns should have been asked to do the same. It is a baseball park. People wear baseball clothing to baseball parks. It does not matter if it was Mets, Phillies, Yankees, Cubs, etc.
  7. Murph April 6, 2009 at 7:53 pm
    St. John’s were jerks for asking him to take off his jacket.
    The kid was a jerk for refusing.
    Off-setting penalties.
    Repeat second down.