Yankee Stadium will continue to be safe from iPads and Kindles

Last week, the Cleveland Indians announced their Social Media Strategy (with video here):

New for 2011 will be the Indians Social Suite, an entire suite at Progressive Field catering to social media users. The Indians Social Suite replaces the first-ever social media-only section in professional sports, the Tribe Social Deck. Invitations to the Indians Social Suite are distributed on a game-by-game basis and fans may apply online at www.indians.com/connect.

An interactive and engaging social media presence is something we strongly believe in because it is integral to the Indians brand,” said MARK SHAPIRO.

In addition to the Indians Social Suite, the Indians today launched a new social media ticket offer for 2011. Available only via Facebook and Twitter, fans will have the opportunity to share the ticket special via social media to receive an even deeper discount. Stay tuned to Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Finally, the Indians will partner with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) to enhance fan experiences at Progressive Field by utilizing the award-winning MLB.com At Bat 11 application. At Bat 11 will include an interactive map of Progressive Field and the ability for fans to check-in to receive discounts, among other features.

Now, I understand that the dynamics in Cleveland are different than at Yankee Stadium, but this is a diametrically opposite stance than that taken by the Yankees. Rather than embracing the new technology and that the devices, like an iPad, are enhancements to be welcomed to increase brand loyalty and customer experiences, the team has put up their hands and refused to allow them past their hallowed gates. My buddy Craig Calcaterra noted the other day:

There is certainly a public relations aspect to all of this, but the Indians have made a point to invite bloggers who are critical of the team. Heck, I’ve been critical of the team and will continue to be as criticism is warranted, and they’ve continued to be swell to me.  Not that I’ll name any names, but a lot of other clubs could take a hint. Some ballparks won’t let you bring an iPad in.  Others have media relations people who seek out bloggers and try to intimidate them when they write negative stuff.  Get a clue fellas.

I have a good idea who he’s referencing there, don’t you?

The Yankees PR group has never appeared proactive or friendly or cooperative or eager to reach out to sites like this. Maybe it’s the sheer number of fan blogs/sites out there covering the team, but you’d figure a company would want to bond most closely with their biggest supporters. I spent several years in consumer products and the whole brand loyalty thing is something that is near and dear to me. Why an organization would shun its most loyal customers, or at least not treat them with the very best intentions is something I will never understand. I’ve run a bit off the rails here, so getting back to the point of this whole thing…

According to the Yankees website, there’s no mention of iPads and Kindles (or other e-readers), only the mention of laptop computers. There’s also a spot on the Yanks site (and every other team has a similar page) that highlights the team’s social media outlets. And the free wifi that the Yankees were supposedly providing to all fans: non-existent, and I can attest to this.  [Last Summer, I brought an iTouch to the game, hoping to test out a few of the baseball apps and such via wifi, but it was password protected. Will’s iPhone worked great, on the other hand. Fiddlesticks.] And then the whole “No iPads” thing burst into our consciousness, as e-migo Ross from NYYStadiumInsider.com noted:

This whole ordeal left us dumbfounded by the utter stupidity of this policy.  Shame on us for not dropping the messenger bag at home, inviting the idiocy upon ourselves.  However, when fans are allowed to bring bigger and heavier hardcover books into the stadium along with an iPhone and can’t bring in a Kindle or Nook, something is seriously wrong.  People bring their E-Readers to work for their commute, and if they go directly to Yankee Stadium, they’re pretty much screwed. Someone, ANYONE needs to explain this policy to us.  We’ve got nothing.  There is absolutely no security concern with e-ink.

Ross’ gripes above seem to cover both issues that bug me:

  1. What’s the difference between an iPhone and an iPad, aside from the size of each device? I recently bought one of the new iPad’s for my commute and the only thing it doesn’t do that the iPhone does (as far as I can tell), is handle phone calls. So what’s the harm in an iPad? You got me. Perhaps it’s that No Laptops policy that also sucks.
  2. I am a commuter. I take MetroNorth into NYC for my job. In my bag is my iPad. I sit on the train with countless others with their iPads, Kindles, Nooks, etc. There’s much fewer paper page turners than there was a few years ago. It’s easier (and cleaner) to simply swipe at your screen than deal with ink. And if/when I have a laptop for work, that will be in my bag, too. What should I do, Yankees front office, when I want to come to the Stadium to see my favorite team play after work? I can’t leave my stuff at work?  Do they have a secure place for me to check my stuff? Nope. Out of luck.

So why no iPads? Well, according to this article from May 2010:

Team representatives told the Associated Press that the iPad ban was a “security-and-safety issue.”

Yet, in the same article:

In April, Israel’s Communications Ministry banned the iPad, supposedly because its WiFi was in non-compliance with the European wireless standards that Israel follows.

On April 25, however, Israeli officials reversed that decision. “Following the completion of intensive technical scrutiny, Israel Minister of Communications Moshe Kakhlon approved the import of [the] iPad to Israel,” the Communication Ministry wrote in a statement reprinted on Reuters April 25. “Accordingly, the import of a single device per person will be permitted commencing Sunday, April 25.”

If it’s safe enough for Israel, dammit it’s gotta be safe enough for the NY Yankees.  No? Evidently not.

Oh, so the rule has to be in effect for OUR safety?  Hmmmm:

To Apple’s chagrin, no doubt, the Yankees apparently consider the iPad to be just another laptop—and such devices are banned from the stadium, along with firearms, knives, video cameras, and beach balls.

In the case of computers, the team said it’s a safety issue. Fans glued to, say, Facebook might be caught unawares by foul balls or flying bats headed in their direction.

Thanks, Yankees, from saving me from myself. I appreciate it.

So it’s because of the “no laptop” rule. And because of possible security concerns. And also because I might not be paying attention because I’m on Facebook. The TSA is more accommodating.

So if I want to attend the game of my favorite team, I have to leave all of my essential (to me) electronic belongings at work or try to find somewhere else to stash them because the Yankees have some sort of security concern that Israel does not.  Or is there another reason?  Are the Yanks just control junkies?

Regardless of the answer, I think the policy sucks, for commuters and for stats/data-junkies alike (and in some cases, one in the same, like me). Screw you, @YankeesPR. Yet another reason for me to avoid their inane rules, policies and prices and watch the game at home.

Tweet ya later.

(photo courtesy of @legendary23)

About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

22 thoughts on “Yankee Stadium will continue to be safe from iPads and Kindles

  1. I’m also on Twitter, on FanGraphs, any number of baseball-related sites and apps, including MLB’s own MLB2011 app.

    Geez….leave that stuff to the pink hats that inhabit fenway.

    • It sounds weird I know, but I think you're really underestimating how much having that stuff available during a game can enhance the viewing experience. You can get Pitch F/X data on a pitcher, strikezone plots, etc., you can keep up with other games seamlessly, and even Twitter can be a big help by crowd sourcing observations.

      Of course, if that's not your thing it's not your thing. To each his own. But that's kind of the point, this stuff really does make the game viewing experience better for a lot of people.

  2. I'm confused. What IS the reason for this policy? I mean obviously the BS they're spinning is nonsense, but I don't get why the organization would bother banning laptops, much less Kindles. What real purpose lies behind the Orwellian excuses? Anyone know?

  3. I assume they'll stop selling programs and scorecards at Yankee Stadium, lest someone get distracted and get hit in the noggin by a flying bat. Safety first.

  4. I went through this with them last year when I had the unmitigated gall to try to walk in with my Nook (which they don't list but I guess it's prohibited too). The nastiest security guard EVER told me to take it across the street and check it at the bowling alley or put it in my car. I commute to work by train – NOT BY CAR!!!! I won't tell you how I got around it but I learned my lesson and didn't bring it for the rest of the season. It's a bad policy. More people are on cellphones during games and guess what? You can't sue the Yankees if you get hit by a bat or ball anyway…the warning is on the back of the ticket.

    • This same thing happened to me earlier this week – again, didn't have a car, because I commute by bus, and the guard told me I could leave it in a locker underneath the subway stop at 161st St. Are they kidding? It's a stupid policy – my Nook doesn't even get enough Internet connection to check my email, while I was allowed to bring in my iPhone. I ended up stashing it in the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt and carrying the sweatshirt in over my arm. They didn't notice it.

  5. If you don't like it, don't go to the game. It sounds like you wouldn't enjoy being at the park anyway if it weren't on an electronic device. Get a life!

    • Clearly you are incapable of reading, though jumping to conclusions is a strong suit.

      My point is, whether I USE the iPad at the game or not, it's with me because I, like many, am a commuter and have nowhere else to store it. I'm not saying I'd have the iPad on all game; it'd be in my bag more than most of the time. Being barred from entry is the real problem.

    • So, wait…going to a game is ok, but going to a game and using an electronic device to check Gameday, Pitch F/X or whatever in conjunction to watching the game="get a life?"

  6. I tried to attend a game last July as a tourist on a very brief visit. I had my iPad in my bag, thought it wouldn't violate the "no laptop" policy. Was also told to go to the bowling alley to rent a locker for it during the game. Guess what? The bowling alley was not only closed, it was BOARDED UP. I wonder how many hundreds of people they've sent across the street on this fool's errand – do you think they know and do it anyway? Cruelty to tourists?

  7. You can store you stuff at Ballpark Lanes for a small fee. It has been this way for years.

  8. Fenway is like being in an old horse barn.

    If you don't like the Yankees policy then buy your own team, open your own stadium and make your own rules.

    Maybe they don't want fans like me to have to suffer thru a%%hats like you playing on your silly toys while I try to enjoy a day at the ball park. Obviously someone with a pad or kindle ruined it for everyone and gave the Yankees a need to make up such a policy.

    • I don't want to be rude, but, how could someone using a Kindle ruin *your* viewing experience?

    • What if I had zero intention of taking my iPad out of my briefcase? What if I didn't feel secure in leaving it at a bowling alley down the block?

  9. Oddly enough, I was able to take my iPad to Steinbrenner Field on Saturday. No one said a word to me, and I used it quite a bit during the game.

  10. I've stopped going to Yankee Stadium because clearly they don't need my business (even though they took my tax dollars). I have a bike messenger bag. It is not large (about 12 by 14) and much smaller than the purses they let in. Once I arrived on bike. Once on the subway. Both times I had no choice to "leave my bag in my vehicle."

    I don't lug things around by choice. I have my bag because I carry things I need (from papers when I came from school to my asthma inhaler). Once I got in when a girl put my bag in her purse. Another time, alone, I couldn't get in. I finally got in after I took everything out of my bag, carried all the papers and belongings loose in one hand, and rolled up the bag and carried it my other hand. Other than looking like a crazy person, it worked just fine. It was also absurd.

    I don't go to Yankee Stadium anymore because of this. f*ck em. Clearly they don't want me. And I don't need them. I should mention I've never had this problem at Shea Stadium or other venue. Ever.

  11. Last night, I was shocked when the Yankee security refused to allow me into the ballpark with my Kindle. They told me my only option was to put the Kindle in a storage locker at a store/bar a few blocks away. I wound up doing that, and it cost me $10. … The "No Kindle" policy is so stupid. How is an electronic reading device a security concern??? I've always loved the Yankees, but it's getting harder and harder to root for them because the organization makes clear that they don't care about us as fans. They just want our money.