Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Baseball Fan Interference Preventer

Gives inconsiderate baseball fans a little "souvenir"
 
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Clueless people in the front rows at ballparks routinely interfere with balls that are in play, preventing a player from fielding the ball(see Bartman, Chicago Cubs et. al) or robbing a batter from stretching a hit for extra bases.

So a solution is needed to allow fans to grab foul balls or home run balls or otherwise "dead" (out of play) balls as souvenirs - but not allow them to interfere with play.

I propose that every fan with a ticket for a seat within reaching distance of a playable ball be required to wear an electronic band on each wrist. At the rim of the play area is a magnetic field, and the wristbands are set up to detect when they have crossed the field - technology can be similar to that used for theft alarms in retail stores.

Now, did I mention the matching belt that goes with the wristbands? The belt connected to the seat with a steel cable? OK - So, when the wristband detects that the fan has reached into the field of play, the cable immediately pulls the fan quite firmly back into his or her seat. Thus, the clueless fan is pulled away from the field and is unable to interfere with the ball!

To allow fans to reach across for DEAD balls or for legitimate purposes like giving an opposing player the finger, the field would only be active when there is a live ball in play. An operator would be positioned to watch the line judges, and toggle it off when they called a ball "foul".

For added comfort and convenience, an embedded microchip in the ball could be sensed and only turn the system on in the part of the park near the ball.

Don't like this, sports fans? Well, you don't have to sit in the front row. Legal precedent is an airline exit row seat: if you can't deal with the responsibility of sitting there - in this case, of knowing enough not to touch a live ball - the staff will be happy to switch you with someone who deserves to sit up front.

strange606, Jun 28 2006

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       I first thought "Why have seats in places where fans can interfere?" but then read "To allow fans to reach across for comfort or for legitamite purposes like giving an opposing player the finger," and my question was answered.
Texticle, Jun 28 2006
  

       The scary thing is, I wouldn't be surprised if something like this was implemented!
MikeOliver, Jun 28 2006
  

       If two ceiling fans (things with wings that rotate and move air and hangs on the ceiling) are placed closer together than the sum of their leaf lengths, they will interfere with each other when switched on.   

       I was disappointed that the idea was not one solving the above problem.
neelandan, Jun 29 2006
  

       How about just puting snipers in the ball park?   

       Or even cheaper, move the legal field of play out of reach of the fan. ( Paint a line on the wall five feet below the top. Above this line is "out of the park" and fair game for any fool who wants to try to grab a ball.   

       You could even bump the wall back six inches there, add straps and let people buy standing room only, no leaving during play, viewing positions.
Galbinus_Caeli, Jun 29 2006
  

       I have a cheaper solution that doesn't involve mounting winches into several hundred seats. Simply embed a remote dog-shock-collar device into the ball and connect it to a fine thread that's woven into the stitching. Anyone holding the ball can then be made to drop it by pressing the remote button.
wagster, Jun 29 2006
  

       In response to [G_C] : problem there is that it takes away spectacular plays where a fielder jumps into the stands to make an out. I love that part - like in "League of Their Own" when Madonna jumps into the stands for a ball and comes back with a fan's ...er... hot dog in her mouth.   

       Response to [wagster] : Once the fan touches the ball the play is dead and the umpires have to fix the problem on the field.   

       I added the 2nd paragraph to explain things better for those not intimately aware of baseball minutiae.
strange606, Jun 29 2006
  

       I'm not even aware of baseball majoriae.
wagster, Jun 29 2006
  

       Well if fan/player collisions improve quality of play, why not let the fans onto the outer five feet of the field? Instead of that warning track they have now, let the players race backwards into a mass of hotdog stuffed, beer soaked, fans.
Galbinus_Caeli, Jun 29 2006
  

       Well, then home runs would certainly go down: it would be easy for an outfielder to climb up the fans to reach a ball, especially wearing spiked shoes.
strange606, Jun 29 2006
  
      
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