Anti-Terrorism Stupidity at Yankee Stadium

They’re confiscating sunscreen at Yankee Stadium:

The team contends that sunscreen has long been on the list of stadium contraband, but there is no mention of it on the Yankee Web site.

Four weeks ago, Stadium officials decided that sunscreen of all sizes and varieties would not be permitted, a security supervisor told The Post before last night’s game.

“There have been a lot of complaints,” he said. “We tell them to apply once and then throw it out.”

For fans who bring babies or young children to cheer on the home team, the guard had suggested they “beg” to take the sunblock in.

Seeing the giant bag full of confiscated sunscreen Saturday, one steaming Yankee fan asked whether he could take one of the tubes and apply it before heading into the park.

“Absolutely not,” the guard told him. “What if you get a rash? You might sue the Yankees.”

Next, I suppose, is confiscating liquids at pools.

We’ve collectively lost our minds.

This story has a happy ending, though. A day after The New York Post published this story, Yankee Stadium reversed its ban. Now, if only the Post had that same effect on airport security.

Posted on July 24, 2008 at 6:50 AM46 Comments


Pan_theFrog July 24, 2008 7:18 AM

Start the begging with “But think of the children…”.

Start the suing with damages and exposure to a know cancer causing agent after taking away a personal safety device.

Pan_theFrog July 24, 2008 7:24 AM

Just occurred to me why they are taking these containers: Profits!

I bet management suspects that people have been using the sunscreen containers as a flask, and this is cutting down on the amount of $6 waters, sodas and beers sold.

ice weasel July 24, 2008 7:44 AM

So the same people who take away sunscreen as a potentially dangerous item during special games give away small, wooden bats.

Ok, that makes sense.

Me? I waiting free ammo day.

“Today’s free ammo was brought to you through the kind sponsorship of our friends at Wal-Mart…”

SteveJ July 24, 2008 8:19 AM

“For fans who bring babies or young children to cheer on the home team”

Is this discriminatory policing in favour of home fans and against away fans? What an excellent way to improve home field advantage (not)!

wally July 24, 2008 8:27 AM

This verges on criminally stupid.

On the other hand, I expect that within a few seasons a team mascot will snap and go postal with the hot dog launcher gun.

Kevin July 24, 2008 8:31 AM

“We’ve collectively lost our minds.” This is a great formulation. It can be interpreted that we each have sacrificed our minds and therefore our individual rights to the collective.

The committee is a form of life with 6 or more legs and no brain.

John Campbell July 24, 2008 8:49 AM

Some of the people making these decisions by committee fall afoul of “composite IQ” being:

IQc = 1 / sum(IQi)

Not very reassuring, is it?

clvrmnky July 24, 2008 8:59 AM

@X: good luck with that. Even countries that were on their way to relaxing their drug laws (e.g., Canada) and those that already had sane drug laws (e.g., The Netherlands) have reversed these policies in the last few years.

American-style forever-war on drugs in the name of anti-terrorism is well and truly a done deal globally. There is no where you can go that has “sane drug laws.” So good luck with that.

America might be fucked, but so are the rest of us.

Nick Lancaster July 24, 2008 9:19 AM

Well, clearly, if global warming is a myth, then y’all don’t need sunscreen …


Homer Simpson July 24, 2008 9:40 AM

Think of all the mayhem that could be done with sunblock…why, a clever terrorist could BLOCK OUT THE SUN! Then all life on Earth would cease.

THe citizens of Springfield remember when Mr. Burns tried this — he had to use a complex mechanism to block the sun…Imagine if he had access to sunscreen.

Jeff July 24, 2008 9:55 AM

Really, as long as people put up with it they will keep pushing it. Flying, well they have you, if you want to get anywhere fast like for business, your stuck.

I visited my sister in Texas this year, I am from Michigan, I drove. It took me and my GF 3 days to get there because I took my time and stopped and smelled the roses, like in Illinois I visited some museums. Then the Arch in ST Louis, the Indian Casino’s and the Oklahoma Bombing Memorial. We actually got out and seen America, even at $4.00 gas in my SUV it was cheaper for the 2 of us to drive to Texas than to fly and really a whole lot more enjoyable and way less stressful. You see some really cool things driving across country. I mean think about it, when was the last time you traveled and drove to another state and just stopped at places because they looked interesting. Oh yeah and riding in a car isn’t bad we listened to books on tape and Pod casts, th library had a ton of books on CD we rented.

Personally, if they are going to make this a big hastle to go to a game and make me feel like a criminal for bringing sun block then guess what I am not going to go. I tell you what, if people quit going because they were denying sunblock I am betting they would change their policy really quick.

As long as people put up with it then well they are going to keep pushing the stupidity.

Frank July 24, 2008 10:08 AM

I noticed that they do not allow sunscreen into the Oakland Coliseum, either. The last time I was at the park, about 2 weeks ago, the father in a family of 5 had to return the sunscreen to his car, which is at least a 15min walk.

The strange part is: They allow water. On this same day, my bag had 6 sealed bottles of water, so that I would not have to pay $5/bottle inside the park.

People are also allowed to bring in their own food, including condiments. I see people at the park with bottles of ketchup, and mustard all the time. It is usually the fans who go to a lot of games as the food inside the park is very expensive.

So what makes sunscreen so dangerous?

P July 24, 2008 10:15 AM

“Absolutely not,” the guard told him. “What if you get a rash? You might sue the Yankees.”

Well you can bet your ass that if my pasty white skin got toasted to a bright red crisp thanks to their asinine ruling on sunscreen I’d be consulting my attorney for advice at the first opportunity. I doubt I’d be alone, this country being full of people who will launch lawsuits over far lesser things.

Perhaps one of the people responsible for setting these rules had a rare moment of clarity, thought about it for a while and came to the same conclusion. Plus the publicity can’t have been exactly good.

“We tell them to apply once and then throw it out.”

I was under the impression that it was generally good practice to reapply sunscreen every so often. Better hope that ball game doesn’t go on for too long…

AlanS July 24, 2008 10:17 AM

They were selling 1 oz. bottles of the stuff for $5! Well, that’s what you get for being a Yankees fan. Sunscreen or not, there’s no protection against the Sox and those other Rays.

Philippe July 24, 2008 11:22 AM

Can you bring water bottles or some food in a bag or backpack? If you do can they actually confiscate what you brought? or do they give it back when you get out?

Philippe July 24, 2008 11:27 AM

I juste read their rules. Why would anyone go watch a baseball game?

No backpacks, briefcases, attaché cases, coolers, glass or plastic bottles, cans, large purses, bags or video cameras will be permitted into the ballpark. You must leave these items in your vehicle before entering the ballpark.
No laptops are permitted into the stadium.
No items will be claim checked. You will be asked to return them to your vehicle.
Diaper bags, small children’s backpacks, small women’s purses & backpack purses will be permitted into the ballpark, but will be inspected at the entrance gates.
Re-entry will not be permitted. Once you enter the ballpark, you will not be permitted to leave and re-enter the facility. Please make sure you have everything you need with you before entering the ballpark.
Only vehicles dropping off or picking up disabled guests will be permitted curbside at the ballpark. No other vehicles are permitted curbside, nor will people be able to stand and wait with their vehicles.
Smoking is prohibited throughout the entire stadium.

To top it off, they mention “Please make sure you have everything you need with you before entering the ballpark.”

They just banned everything you might take to a game! They are absolutly crazy, makes non sense.

Kashmarek July 24, 2008 11:29 AM

Probably, someone wanted a concession to sell sunscreen at $20 for a small container.

twh July 24, 2008 11:33 AM

“I see people at the park with bottles of ketchup, and mustard all the time.”

So I guess people could fill ketchup bottles with sunscreen!

I’m still trying to decide if people who institute these “security” policies are really, really, stupid and really believe they are doing something constructive, or if they just enjoy being bullies.

The Matrix July 24, 2008 11:37 AM

Think of all the mayhem that could be done with sunblock…
why, a clever terrorist could BLOCK OUT THE SUN!
Then all life on Earth would cease.

I’ll just stick humans into virtual reality pods and use them as an energy source.

George July 24, 2008 12:00 PM

Perhaps the proliferation of inane rules and restrictions– usually but not always in the name of “security”– will be a Good Thing in the long run. It could hasten the day when the sheer volume of stupid intrusion will finally drive the oppressed sheep to spit up their cud and bleat “Enough!”

(How about a mass protest at a major airport: Everyone brings at least one item forbidden in the War on Toiletries, Liquids, and Shoes to the checkpoint. As the “hazmat” bins overflow with bottles of water, sunscreen, and shampoo, some brilliant screener gets the bright idea to call in the SWAT team. Two weeks after the resulting unnecessary display of force makes the evening news, Kip Hawley issues a press release commending the screener for the prompt and effective response that protected the public from what clearly was a terrorist plot, and reminding passengers that the TSA regards any form of disrespect or disobedience as a threat to aviation and will punish it accordingly.)

lattera July 24, 2008 12:31 PM

Maybe stadiums should ban saliva. After all, you never know if saliva could be used to cause terror.

Robert July 24, 2008 1:32 PM

I wonder if this story is little more than myth.

Haven’t been to many sunny games so far this season, but in all the past seasons, sunscreen is a pretty common thing to see around.

Have all these people managed to sneak it in?

Lyle July 24, 2008 1:39 PM

Not so much reversed as relaxed: they’re going to allow 3 oz containers. Note that size — same as the TSA believes is a safe quantity of a component of a site-made liquid explosive. This makes a lot of sense, if you are worried that someone might hijack Yankee Stadium and fly it into a building.

Davi Ottenheimer July 24, 2008 2:07 PM

Lessons of Persepolis come to mind when I read stories like this…

The guards must have wondered what true Yankee fan would not sacrifice their health and welfare to watch their team play. It is a test by the authorities; if you are not willing to severely burn your skin and get cancer, then what kind of fan are you?

And if you think this is bad, just wait until you see the new security measures this fall for “Patriot” fans.

Davi Ottenheimer July 24, 2008 2:17 PM

Hey, if someone can design an external catheter system for men who don’t want to go to the bathroom at stadiums, surely a concealed sunscreen system is now marketable in New York.

Perhaps something along the lines of spiderman’s wrist-firing system. A little tube along the forearm with a trigger to dispense sunscreen from a concealed bag.

Another option might be to switch to zinc oxide powder and mix the paste after you get past the security drones at the gate.

Here’s a starter for design:

Another option could be to go with zinc oxide powder and mix the solution once you have managed to penetrate the stadium’s high-security perimeter.

Anonymous July 24, 2008 2:52 PM

Now, if only the Post had that same affect on
airport security.

Write on the board 50 times:

“affect” is a verb
“effect” is a noun

Anonymous July 24, 2008 4:03 PM


Since Yankee Stadium is already a building, wouldn’t the hijackers have to fly the stadium into an airplane in flight? Sorta like a gigantic boomerang-shaped surface-to-air missile.

Sorry, too much influence from Al Qohol.

Anton July 24, 2008 4:38 PM

I suppose nobody has thought of the risk of being sued because watching a game at the Yankee Stadium has caused skin cancer.

Kermit the bog July 24, 2008 7:13 PM

Write on the board 50 times:

“affect” is a verb
“effect” is a noun

Sorry, it’s not quite as simple as that. “Effect” can be a verb too.

Anyway, it’s time to effect my egress…

Moderator July 24, 2008 8:14 PM

I can’t believe we got a grammar flame for affect vs. effect, but no one noticed the post began “They’s confiscating sunscreen….” Anyway, both errors have been fixed.

Lee Gibson July 24, 2008 9:37 PM

“Write on the board 50 times:
“affect” is a verb
“effect” is a noun”

Not so.

“I will proceed to effect the proposed solution”
“That person has a flat affect.”

Roxanne July 24, 2008 11:37 PM

On the way home last week, the hand baggage screener at the Zurich airport was heard to complain that even the Russians hadn’t made them do this.

That’s right: In the eyes of the Swiss, the current US administration is worse than the Russians. What a concept. Aren’t you proud? We’ve beaten the Russians at their own game….

averros July 25, 2008 4:22 AM

What the fuss is about? You don’t like their rules, just don’t go there. If enough people refuse to go along with this harassment, their revenues will suffer. Which, in turn, will do wonders for improving IQ of their security.

Can’t do that trick with TSA, though. No matter what you do, they’ll get paid out of the loot (er, taxes).

Rick July 25, 2008 6:55 AM

The story-behind-the-story is the fact that people are being so routinely searched at this and other venues. Anybody else remember a time when you could go to a stadium, arena, movie or concert without someone trying to look through your purse, pockets and backpack? I’m disappointed that we’ve let it come to this.

Brian Greer July 25, 2008 8:41 AM

Worse than the fact that people are becoming accustomed to this level of intrusion, is that there appear to be a lot of people who think it is a good idea.

nathan July 26, 2008 7:14 AM

Baseball is lame like terrorism. Sunscreen, Jesus what has happened to this country?

Better to die in a world where I can bring a bottle of water onto a plane than to live in fear of Panama Jack.

Harry July 29, 2008 11:38 PM

Most places, including the ballparks I’ve been to recently, don’t search diaper bags very closely. So put whatever you want into a diaper bag. If asked, say your spouse and the baby went in ahead of you.

Or put a small container of sunscreen into your pocket or stuffed down your sock (if you’re wearing long pants). At the only stadium I’ve been to in the past couple of years that had pat downs, the staff did a pathetic job. They missed 2 of the 4 most common places to carry a gun or large knife- they got hip and waist but missed underarm and ankle.

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