KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In 2017, a fan was permanently banned from Fenway Park in Boston after he yelled racial slurs at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones.
This season, Major League Baseball is cracking down on the use of derogatory language at all of its ballparks.
"We don't find offensive language acceptable,” said Toby Cook, VP of Publicity for the Kansas City Royals. “And we reserve the right to do something about it."
Cook said the atmosphere, and the rules, at Kauffman Stadium, the home of the Royals, have basically been the same for years.
There have been instances of people climbing into the fountains. That’s an action that will get fans an automatic ejection and arrested.
But this year, the league is tackling the way you talk.
In a statement to Scripps station KSHB in Kansas City, MLB said: “The use of offensive, discriminatory or harassing language in our ballparks is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, and individuals on the field and in our ballparks should never be subject to verbal abuse."
MLB 2018 POLICY ON FAN LANGUAGE
- Club personnel must receive annual training on responding to the use of derogatory language by fans.
- Club must have a system for fans to notify ballpark security of any incident.
- Club must have ballpark signage stating that the use of derogatory language will not be tolerated, and violators will be disciplined.
- Club must broadcast a public service announcement on main ballpark video board specifically addressing the prohibition of derogatory language, and the consequences of using said language.
“If you've been a fan that's been coming for years, and occasionally you've just ignored something that's made you feel uncomfortable, this is your permission granted by the KC Royals and Major League Baseball to let your voice be heard, to go tell someone that this just isn't working for my family,” Cook said.
The league's new rules will require more signage at the stadium, an announcement during the games, and messages on the video board.
"A racist comment, a sexual comment, the kind of things that we're talking about in our society today," Cook said. "We're not going to be walking around with our hands cupped up to our ear, monitoring conversations."
What the team will do is make it abundantly clear to fans that the wrong kind of language will get you kicked out of The K.
The league's new policy also requires ballpark security personnel and ushers to report any incident to a security supervisor and have a defined discipline process in place.