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Florence Freedom banning peanut sales at games
FLORENCE, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- An age-old ballpark staple is off the menu this season at Florence Freedom games.
More and more fans are allergic to peanuts so the team has decided to stop selling them in any form at the UC Health stadium. Local 12's Joe Webb isn't a big fan of peanuts but he always eats them at baseball games and leaves behind a pile of shells. Apparently, that tradition puts some people at risk and keeps them away from ballgames. That's why the Freedom has said no more nuts.
Spring training is underway for the Florence Freedom. When they open their season in two weeks the concession stand menu will no longer have bag peanuts, drumstick ice cream treats or peanut M&M's. Anything with peanuts.
Florence Freedom Assistant GM, Sarah Eichenberger, said, "We're not trying to save the world from peanuts. We're not here to eradicate peanuts. We're just staying consistent with our branding here for the last 10 years as a family-friendly entertainment value."
Fans with peanut allergies struggle at ballparks. The protein from a cracked shell can trigger a reaction. You don't have to touch it or eat it, just be around it.
Kristina King from Burlington said, "The protein, when you crack open the peanut shell, the protein is in the air. It becomes airborne. So they're breathing in the protein."
Kristina King has twin 7-year-old sons, Blake and Logan, who love to go to Reds and Freedom games. But Logan is allergic to peanuts. She just became an even bigger Florence Freedom fan.
"They play baseball in Boone County's league. There is something about going to a baseball game. Everybody should have that right. This opens up a whole new world for us so we're thrilled," King said.
Former Cincinnati Councilman Jim Tarbell is a baseball traditionalist and dresses up as Peanut Jim Shelton for every Opening Day parade. He's not critical of Florence's policy but is more concerned with finding out why more and more people are allergic to peanuts and where things may be heading.
Tarbell tells Joe Webb, "What can we do to straighten things out and what's next if we don't? Hot dogs? Apple pie? I don't know. Beer? Beer! Oh my god!"
Thirsty Thursdays are still on the Florence Freedom's schedule, including their home opener. They do face one serious dilemma though. Fans sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch. The team is soliciting suggestions on how to change the lyrics, because as of now, you "can't buy me some peanuts and cracker jack."
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