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.