Apparently, a rumor I mentioned a few days ago turns out to be true. Baseball fans will not be allowed to smoke anywhere in Busch Stadium III next season, according to Fox 2 news local to St. Louis. This makes me extremely angry. I can’t believe I bought all those tickets a few weeks ago from these people.
First off, let me point out a factual error in the news story (in the vain hope that the rest will prove to be wrong). Smoking is allowed in designated areas of Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum. They may have tried it out years ago for all I know, but they undid the policy as I hope to convince the Cardinals they should do.
This whole movement to superficially sanitize our lives by banning the use by adults of legal products like tobacco is absolutely driving me nuts. I’m so angry right now that I can’t think straight enough to write a letter to the Cardinal front office, but I’ll have one put together over the next few days. I’ve got a 4.5 hour drive ahead of me—that should be plenty of time to come up with a few serious arguments.
It’s a stupid idea because the stadium is full of smoke from all the concessions and the friggin’ highway. It’s a lame idea to play follow the leader here. Last season, the designated areas were flat-out insulting. The first game I saw there, the smoking section was right above some AC units and it was unbelievable hot and uncomfortable. All the smoking sections don’t have the game audio piped in, much less televisions. I thought it would be better this season. Instead, I’ll have to leave the friggin’ park. I’m not going to be happy at the games where the only available tickets were upper deck. And I’m going to let the front office know as often and as loudly as I can manage. Disrespectful assholes.
[Update: Another article with more details.
"Unlike old Busch, which generally had open-air concourses, the new ballpark is designed with many services, amenities and access areas such as stairwells which are enclosed," Cardinals president Mark Lamping said.
"Smoke collects in these stairwells and other enclosed areas, and that works against our goal of providing a healthy, fan-focused environment."
"Lamping said fans asked for the no-smoking policy."
This fan asking for a change in that policy and calling BS on those excuses. The majority of the complaints I've heard about the new stadium deal with the poor sightlines in the cheap seats and that, in general, the new stadium is designed to give a great experience to the people in the luxury seats, with the folks in the cheap seats being sort of an attractive backdrop scenery for them to gaze out upon. This policy fits right in with that complaint.
I predict that they'll scale back this ban and establish designated smoking areas on the top concourses for the people in the upper deck. That's what I'll be agitating for, since the upper deck folks are the ones so far away from the gates and for whom it makes the least sense to leave the park. And I want Rooney and Shannon playing in those areas.
That article claims that fifteen of the thirty MLB parks are completely hostile to smokers. I counted only eight the other day, noting that I couldn't find policies for Baltimore and Minnesota. That'd be at least four new stadiums shitting on the tobacco using fans, in addition to the Cardinals misguided effort that I hope to help derail.]
[Update 2: The Press Release. I want to vomit:
"The trend in St. Louis and throughout the nation is to provide a smoke-free experience for guests attending sports and entertainment events, and the vast majority of our fans have clearly communicated to us that they want the same experience at Busch Stadium. By introducing a special re-entry policy, fans who wish to smoke may do so by exiting and re-entering the ballpark at designated gates on each side of the stadium.
This squeaky wheel looks forward to demanding a tiny bit of oil. I hate trends. I hate that the Cardinals think they're trendy even worse.]