Baltimore Orioles: Reverse The Camden Yards Bag Ban
Baltimore Orioles: Reverse The Camden Yards Bag Ban
Why this petition matters
During the 2021 Major League Baseball Season the Baltimore Orioles instituted a policy, ostensibly as part of their COVID “Health and Safety Protocols”, banning fans from bringing bags into the stadium, with the exception of a clutch style bag no larger than 5x7” and diaper or medical bags.
The implication when this announcement was initially made was that this was a temporary policy that would last for the 2020 season only, and then the rules would revert back to the Orioles’ and Camden Yards fan friendly rules allowing fans to bring most bags into the stadium.
Over the course of last season, and during the off season, worried that this policy was not going to be changed, many people emailed and called their season ticket representatives and emailed the team through the website. People collected feedback from other fans and passed it on.
As a result of that, the Orioles reversed the new rule regarding bringing outside food and beverage into the stadium, but did not reverse the sexist, family unfriendly bag ban.
As fans of the team and people who spend money to come to games every season, we are very disappointed in this decision.
Camden Yards has long been one of the best places in the country to come see a baseball game and even while the team has struggled the experience of coming to the park has continued to be worthwhile. Much of that has had to do with the team’s much lauded fan-friendly policies on bringing in bags and outside food and beverages. These policies made games accessible to the widest group of fans.
The Orioles claim to pride themselves on having a commitment to diversity and inclusion and it is clear that by keeping the bag ban in place that either those words are performative and the team does not have any interest in taking the actions necessary to back them up, or that they do not understand what it really means to make that commitment.
Bag bans are a pink tax—a policy which negatively impacts women and feminine presenting individuals to a far greater degree than men. Women and many nonbinary folk often bring more with them when they go out, by necessity, while also having less pocket space or no pockets at all in the clothing they are wearing. This policy forces women and feminine presenting individuals to carry their possessions out in the open, including things that put them in more bodily danger such as their wallets, cell phones, and keys. They also end up having to carry private items such as tampons, pads, and medications. If a woman does not wish to walk from their car to the gate while holding these items in their hands, they are then forced to pay to store their bag in a locker, making this an actual financial tax on women and feminine presenting individuals.
Bags for us to carry are limited to 5x7” at most, which is less space than what fits in the pockets of a typical pair of men’s paints. If a man wears cargo pants or cargo shorts—which are not banned—they have as much pocket space on their person as most large handbags, which they are allowed to fill up.
It’s GREAT that the Orioles have the kids cheer free program, but kids often have short attention spans and parents need the ability to bring a bag full of stuff for them to do—books, toys, and other distractions. The food and beverage policy will help draw families back, but the bag policy will keep getting in the way.
What about people who love baseball but are ADD/ADHD, Autistic, or have sensory processing disorders? Who, to make it through the game, need something to do with their hands, like knitting, balls to squeeze, fidget spinners. Who need noise cancelling headphones if the sound gets to be too much, or a soft blanket to touch if they need help calming down.
Or the baseball loving kids, teenagers, and young adults who want to work in the industry some day and love to score keep, take pictures, track balls and strikes on their tablet, write notes, etc.? (Or the people who have been doing some of those things for 50+ years.)
It is extremely difficult to bring any of the things listed above to games and still enjoy your game day experience. You have to carry all of it with you when you go get something to eat, when you go to the bathroom. Juggle everything around. It is even worse when it is cold and you have layers of clothing and a blanket, or it is raining and have an umbrella.
If this team wants its current fans to keep coming to games, the bag ban needs to be reversed. If it wants to attract new fans, the bag ban needs to be reversed.
It has been a tough few years for the team and for fans, and the team should be doing everything within its power to make the fans who have remained dedicated enough to continue coming to games happy.
An organization which claims to be committed to diversity and inclusion should be protecting the rights and autonomy of all genders, not placing an unequal burden on one over another. This policy, as it stands, is an attempt to profit off of the fact that women and feminine presenting individuals carry large bags with them, which is blatantly prejudicial. It also places an undue strain on families with young children and neurodiverse folk whose bags I am sure you would not allow through as “medical bags”.
All of that is extremely important, especially for this organization.
But the team should also make the people who like to knit during the game, those who enjoy reading their book between innings, and those who need to make sure they finish the homework they’d procrastinated on feel welcome and want to come back.
Camden Yards is the best part in baseball, and we are creating this petition because we care. Please, reverse this policy.