Wrigley offers peanut-free zone at game

Wrigley offers peanut-free zone at game
August 30, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The Chicago Cubs have created a peanut-free zone at Wrigley Field for Monday night. It's a move that will help Cubs fans with serious issues enjoy the day at the ballpark.

For Joyce Davis and her daughter, Julia, a Father's Day Cubs game was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

"The people to the right of us, and the left of us, and in front of us, and behind us, they were all eating peanuts," said Joyce Davis, whose daughter is allergic to peanuts. "They're cracking open the shells, and the dust gets in the air, and even I could almost taste it."

Within minutes of taking their seats, 10 year old Julia - who suffers from peanut allergies - started feeling sick.

"I didn't know what to do because I just started getting hives. My throat was numb. I had a really bad headache. My stomach was hurting," said Julia.

The Davises quickly left the game-- but Joyce, a lifelong Cubs fan, started doing some research. She learned at least five other major league parks, including the Mariners' Safeco Field, accommodate peanut allergy sufferers at select home games. So she wrote a letter to the Cubs and started a Facebook group.

Soon, she and other fans with peanut allergies got a call from the Cubs.

"They maintained a list, which was wonderful, of everyone who has contacted them about peanut allergies, and really just about a week ago, they started going down the list and said, 'Hey, we have this box,'" said Davis.

On Monday night, the Davises and 24 other families enjoyed the game against the Pirates in the plush, air-conditioned Batter's Eye Skybox, located in center field. It is a peanut-free zone.

"I'm really excited because the kids like me should get to go to the Cubs game without thinking they're going to have a reaction," said Julia.

The group included John Rudnicki. Just in time for his eighth birthday, John and his friend Zach, who also suffers from peanut allergies, watched the game in the peanut-free environment.

John's mother Kelly was part of the network of moms who petitioned the Cubs to have a peanut- free zone.

"Everywhere you step is peanuts and my son is highly allergic to peanuts and he's a die hard Cubs fan and we wanted him to have this experience like any other kid," said Kelly Rudnicki.

Peanuts will be sold as usual in all other areas of the park and the Davises had to sign a safety waiver and pay $50 each for the tickets.

"We always jokingly sing 'buy me some popcorn and Cracker Jack.' We don't begrudge anybody their peanuts. We just will be singing really loud with everybody else and just thrilled to be there," said Davis.

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