You be the Judge: The LA Dodgers and the “Peanut Man” Controversy

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There’s a controversy brewing, but you probably don’t know about it unless you are a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball fan and regularly attend games at the ballpark.

79-year-old Roger Owens has been walking the stands, selling and tossing bags of peanuts to fans for almost 60 years. He is considered an institution at Dodger Stadium, his antics at throwing peanuts an attraction many have associated with summer itself.

Here’s a video of the man in action:

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But while the so-called “Peanut Man” can still sell his peanuts to fans, he is no longer allowed to toss them. He has been instructed by Levy Restaurants, the company that manages the stadium’s concessions, to tell those who ask that the decision was made for safety reasons.

That response may lead some to think that Levy is banning Owen’s peanut tossing for fear of an innocent bystander getting clocked in the head with an errant throw, but others are aware that peanut dust has the potential for causing severe reactions in those that are allergic.

In any event, fans are not taking the ban lightly. The LA Times asked a number of ballpark visitors what they thought of the new restrictions. Here are a few responses:

It’s ridiculous. I’ve seen him there since I was a kid in the 70s. Was anyone ever injured by a bag of peanuts that he threw? Is the concern that flying peanut dust will trigger someone’s severe peanut allergy?

Lauren Cole, Los Angeles, CA

Very disappointed — what’s next? They should stop selling beer if they’re concerned about fan safety. I tell you we look forward to buying peanuts from Mr Owens — he gives it a special touch when he tossed a bag of peanuts. What can be so dangerous on throwing a bag of peanuts. Come on be serious. A total joke.

— Hector Amavizca, Bakersfield, CA
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Roger Owens IS Dodger Baseball.

I’ve known him since I was a kid (always just knew him as “the peanut guy”) and I’m OLD!!!

You can ban everyone else, but Roger must be allowed to throw peanuts as long as he wants to.

Cindy Flynn, Downey, CA

These corporate Scrooges come off like a villain in a Charles Dickens novel. How do they not realize this? They are Chevy Chase’s boss in Christmas vacation. They are Montgomery Burns. They have no business within 1,000 miles of the entertainment industry. Let people play!!

Erik Morse, Sebastopol, CA

And finally, one opposing opinion:

Although his tossing of peanuts was very entertaining, I always thought it was unusual and concerning that it was allowed. I would see people who could not catch the peanuts or if he missed his target from afar. It is probably for the best, safety wise, that he is not allowed to throw the peanut bags anymore.

Tony Jimenez, Yucaipa, CA

Now, you be the judge: what do you think of the peanut ban and what would you say to the fans above? Is this an overreaction or a warranted move by the concessions company? Sound off below and let your voice be heard!

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Times change, maybe this will get people to think about why the marked rise in food allergies since the 70’s?

  2. It sounds to me that the fans are assuming the ban is in fear that someone will be injured by being hit with a bag of peanuts in which I can understand their reaction because it is unlikely that someone will be injured by being hit with a bag of peanuts! I think some people would be more understanding if it had been explained in terms of food allergies, however, their will always be those that don’t get it and don’t care about food allergies.

  3. It’s unfortunate that people don’t take Food Allergies serious until their own family member suffers from it. If airlines have changed their policies why not the games? We are living in different times. There should be more compassion out there for Food Allergy individuals. Maybe they should be given flyers documenting some of the sad stories we read about.

  4. Must be nice to never have to worry about your child going in to anaphylactic shock and dying right in front of you. I would give a limb for that luxury.

  5. The sad thing is that we live in a society that is quick to sue, whether a company or person. All it would take is for someone to say that they were hit with a bag of peanuts and claim that they can’t go to a game because of flash backs of being it or something like that. However, as a parent with a child that is anaphylactic to peanuts, i can understand the peanut dust worry. Perhaps, the vendor could provide him a kiosk where people can purchase the peanuts and have them stand in his marked spot for him to toss the bag to them.

  6. Seems like another solution could resolve this. I don’t know how they package the nuts, but maybe they can put the peanuts in plastic wrap inside those brown bags as a way to avoid dusting the stadium. I am allergic to nuts and would probably be fine with something sensible.

  7. Food allergy parent here…..couldn’t they just designate certain “peanut free” areas in the park – where they wouldn’t sell/throw the bags of peanuts?? Even if it was ONE SMALL SECTION – that would be amazing. My son has anxiety about going to baseball games because of the massive amounts of peanut shells all over the place (on seats, etc) but is a huge baseball fan/player. Some teams used to offer “peanut free” tickets for various games throughout the summer (they were located in a party suite that would be cleaned), but that seems to have gone away. It’s a shame the MLB can’t figure out a better way to welcome all guests.

  8. We have not yet attended a baseball game with our kids due to a severe peanut allergy. I’m waiting for a ‘peanut free’ section! Unfortunately it will only happen when the decision makers have a family member with food allergies. I’d love to see a ‘free from’ section in every stadium so that baseball was more inclusive.

    Let him throw his peanuts in the rest of the stadium. I grew up in Pittsburgh and remember guys like this. It’s part of the experience if it’s safe for you.

  9. This is easy!! Just have a nut free section, why is that so hard to do?? Airlines quit giving out nuts, it’s time for stadiums to get with the program. There is a whole group of kids out there who have not been able to experience America’s pastime!!

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