Missoula Paddleheads: No More Re-Entry
The Missoula Paddleheads announced on Tuesday August 16th that they will no longer be allowing fans to re-enter the ballpark during games after leaving.
Townsquare Media spoke with Paddleheads President Matt Ellis about the change. He cited several reasons for the introduction of the policy, all of them good ones. The first was general fan safety:
The world's changing. It's a different place, and we're finding for safety reasons doing a no re-rentry policy was the smart way to go.
We do bag check as everyone comes in, we want to make sure those bag checks are solid throughout the game. We don't want people going out and coming back in with something else.
The other issue concerns younger fans of the Paddleheads:
Chasing foul balls is a great pastime for kids. We want them to get foul balls but what we don't want them to do is go into the street to get them. We were having issues where kids were running, bolting through the gate and heading into the parking lot to get balls.
We had a close call with a car and a kid [recently] and that's not who we are. We don't want kids running in and out without supervision, that's a safety issue.
It's those kind of issues that have evolved and we're at a place where we just want to ensure that we have total control of the facility at all times.
Ellis also cited the recent attempted abduction of a young child at the Western Montana Fair as all the more reason for the team and Allegiance Field to implement the policy.
As far as why the Paddleheads decided to start enforcing no re-entry before the 2023 season:
We originally were going to wait til next year, and then we said "you know, let's start it now, let's get feedback from our fans." And most of our fans are like, great, this is no problem at all.
It might be more of an issue in the colder seasons when people want to go back and get a sweatshirt or something, but we're just going to train them to bring the sweatshirt to the ballpark. You can have a bag, some venues aren't even letting you bring bags in anymore.
INT: Well I'm glad you're still part of the cool kid's club.
Ellis: (laughing) We're trying to be as much as possible! We are trying to be fan-friendly.
With less than four weeks of regular season play remaining in the 2022 season, the Paddleheads are looking to close out strong and possibly set a record of 4 consecutive half-seasons with the best record in the Pioneer League. Their final home games will be the first weekend of September.