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The Mets are considering adding a “quiet section” to Citi Field to accommodate families with autistic children

Jun 14, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

Image (1) Mets%20Logo.png for post 3903

This is interesting. The Mets are circulating a survey to fans with the following question:

“The Mets are considering adding a designated ‘quiet’ seating section with lower volume PA announcements and no music or cheerleading. How likely would you be to purchase tickets in that section?”

This came in an email to fans. Not mentioned in the email, however, was the reasoning behind it:

The idea is aimed toward families with autistic children, the Mets told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton.

This would be really cool. We’ve seen some teams do this with peanut-free sections to accommodate fans with allergies. It and similar initiatives are a great move for organizations seeking to draw fans who might otherwise steer clear of the ballpark.

  1. Stacey - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    I love this idea so much. Good for the Mets. I hope they implement it.

  2. dondada10 - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Classy move by the Mets. Wouldn’t be surprised if other teams follow suit, or if other teams are already doing this.

  3. The Common Man - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Cool idea, and sounds like they’re doing due diligence to see if it’s feasible rather than just rushing in.

  4. singingfriar - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    i hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but how about all ballparks turning down the PA announcements and dispensing with the cheerleading and loud music in all sections, for all time?

    • The Rabbit - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      +1000
      I love to sound like a curmudgeon, BTW
      I fail to see the value in “cheerleading” (mascots are enough, thank you), the incredibly idiotic interviews of fans, kissing cams, etc. shown on the scoreboard, some of the awful music, etc.
      The last few games I’ve attended at different stadiums, it’s been nearly impossible to get the scores of other games being played because somewhere, someone decided this was what the fans wanted.
      If this is really what today’s fan wants, OK…I’m happy to watch the game at home.

  5. mybrunoblog - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Interesting idea. Having some experience with autistic children I know loud and sudden noises sometimes disturb them. What would the policy be on cheering? Would fans be allowed to scream, chant, boo and make noise?
    I for one really dislike all the music pumped into ballparks during games. I want to watch baseball not listen to a bad party mix some marketing guy thinks is “hip”.

    • chill1184 - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      My guess it would be treated in the same guise if your in a movie theater with obviously a bigger threshold since it’s a ballpark.

  6. scareduck - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    If you need a “quiet section” at a ballpark, maybe you shouldn’t be at the ballpark.

    (FWIW, my brother is autistic. I would not demand the rest of the world change for him.)

    • vallewho - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      I agree with you. Quiet and ballpark just seem like polar opposites. I would be content with a drunk-ahole-free section.

    • thefalcon123 - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      No one is demanding the Mets change for them. The Mets are a business, a good business strategy would be to appeal to people who would normally steer away from the ballpark. If the Mets find would be financially beneficial to offer such a section, it would both help the Mets make more money and allow greater access to baseball for a group that would otherwise stay away.

      • vallewho - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        True. But I’ll give you a different perspective. I grew up in NY/NJ loving baseball, but as an adult (when I could actually afford it), I purposely stayed away from attending both Mets and Yankees games because of the value and general atmosphere (cleanliness issues and obnoxious drunks). But the one thing I always missed is the actual “noise and feel” from the ballpark. Will this “section” get them higher on the 3-4 million annual attendance gold standard? who knows…but I suspect that the Mets could be doing more for the entire fanbase.

        BTW, I do enjoy my beers while watching a game, but I chose to do it at home.

  7. jetstizzi85 - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Class act….being a Mets fan, it is good to see them doing things for the fans who come out and pay to see them play. As an owner of a team, your job is to get fans in the seats

  8. 18thstreet - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    I love the reasons behind this, but I would also love a section with significantly less PA blather. There’s lots of reasons I don’t attend NBA games, but the scoreboard-plus-PA is somewhere on that list.

    I’d welcome (a) a lot fewer sounds and (b) lower volume on the sounds that do occur.

  9. madhatternalice - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Citi Field has a capacity of roughly 42000 seats, and their average attendance this season is 27,400 (or so). Seems like no one would be inconvenienced by this, so why would anyone complain about this?

  10. moagecu - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    @mybrunoblog, you do know most music you hear during a baseball game will either be the players walk up music our the pitchers warm up music. It’s not a mix some guy just makes.

    • willsolo - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      Come to AT&T Park. During a few of the innings they have a DJ “mixing” it up by the huge glove in left field. Now that is annoying.

  11. sdelmonte - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    But how do you actually make a section quieter? I look forward to seeing what methods are used to dampen sound in a ballpark.

    And while it’s not meant for me, I would not mind sitting in a quiet zone.

    • madhatternalice - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      I suspect several white-noise generators…

    • natstowngreg - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      Perhaps they wall off a section, like clubs found in numerous ballparks. Have a window in front so the fans can see the game.

  12. footballchic777 - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I think this is great. I have a daughter in law with nut allergies, and it has become so prevalent, I don’t know why ballparks don’t have nut free areas! It really prohibits alot of kids from going to the ballparks! It wouldn’t be detrimental to attendance, and would probably add to fanbase!

  13. shanabartels - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    The New York local news just mentioned this “quiet section” idea on their broadcast without explaining the actual reason, so now that I know it’s meant for autistic kids, that makes a lot more sense. (I couldn’t come up with a rational explanation on my own as to why anyone would want to go to a quiet section, but this is logical.) I’m all for inclusiveness. My concern, though, is that there’s only so much they can really do to limit noise during the games. Yes, they can control the volume of the PA and the music, but if the Mets give the home fans reason to cheer a lot and make the stadium really electric (I did say “if”– okay, maybe I should be fair and say “when”), parents of autistic children will have to keep their expectations of quiet reasonable. Realistically, it will be far from silent. But it’s an idea worth consideration.

  14. hojo20 - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I don’t have autism, but would prefer to sit in that section. I hate loud PA announcements and blaring music. Some parks I have to stop my conversation until the obnoxious music/noise ends.

  15. itsadryheatinphx - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Should be from Section 101 to Section 999 – the whole ballpark. AND, they should install a device that kills all cell phone reception. The last D-Backs game I attended, and last one I will ever attend due to my “neighbors”, a Hispanic woman was on her cell phone the entire game … in a very loud voice. When I asked whether she was going to end the call so there could be some quiet, the middle finger was displayed.
    So, ban the noise, block cell phone coverage, do whatever can be done to tone down the noise. If folks aren’t at the ballgame to watch the game, they should stay home and watch on TV — while making those cell phone calls.

    • jimbo75025 - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      I agree that cell phones are a nuisance, but has more to do with our society now than the need to ban them outright. 20 years ago we would be horrified at the thought of blasting our business to anyone within earshot, but a large portion now do not care much less give a hoot about anyone else around them trying to enjoy a game or a movie. I personally go to movies/games/whatever to kick back and get away from my life, but if you take away some peoples phones for 2 or 3 hours they will start having panic attacks because they cannot find out what their friend from grade school who they have not seen or talked to in person for 20 years has posted on facebook.

    • chill1184 - Jun 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Cell phone jammers are actually illegal

  16. tuftsb - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    The Mets tried a silence at the ballpark routine before – it was called the 2011 season at CitiField.

    Perhaps they should institute this instead?

  17. ironhawk - Jun 14, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    I’m always surprised by how many autistic children there are. People should really be more concerned about autism than they are. Why are cases increasing? What’s happening? I mean when you get to the point where there are so many that stadiums need special sections, your society needs to slam on the brakes and ask some questions.

  18. tuftsb - Jun 14, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    The increase in rates is interesting. I have worked with a school for severly autistic children and wondered about the numbers. Per a recent article:

    “Autism is diagnosed by making judgments about a child’s behavior; there are no blood or biologic tests. For decades, the diagnosis was given only to kids with severe language and social impairments and unusual, repetitious behaviors. The definition of autism has gradually expanded, and “autism” is now shorthand for a group of milder, related conditions, including Asperger’s syndrome. Meanwhile, there’s been an explosion in autism-related treatment and services for children. “

  19. lmoneyfresh - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I love how people have turned what is a legitimately great idea by the Mets organization into a forum for bitching about what irks them at ballgames. This isn’t about you, idiots.

    • stex52 - Jun 14, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      So we’re not supposed to go on a blog and say what we think?

      • lmoneyfresh - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:15 PM

        No, I just think it’s pretty disrespectful for idiots to take over a post about the possibility of helping children with autism enjoy baseball games into their own private forum for complaining about what they don’t like at games.

        This is about reducing stimuli for children with a legitimate sensitivity to over-stimulation. It’s not about being annoyed by people’s cell phones or PA systems. Attempting to accommodate children with a disability has nothing to do with an asshole with a cellphone that irritates you. I guess it’s a bit much to ask of most internet folk to understand that. Commence the bitch-fest.

    • hojo20 - Jun 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      Why not, it’s a baseball blog? I hate loud noise. I’m sure those autism people do too. Go sit in the loud section with the cell phone gabbers if you want. So one is stopping you.

  20. stex52 - Jun 14, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    We have a large quiet section in Houston this year. It’s called Minute Maid Park.

  21. jlovenotjlo - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    The Rockies have a non-drinking section (or 2, or 3?) at the Club Level down the line. So, so, so smart!

    I still don’t understand why my parents wouldn’t let me watch R-rated movies as a kid, but always brought me to White Sox games. I still recall more than a couple beer showers and the F word being used in ways I never thought possible. At the time.

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