Express yourself

Dear Dave Fendrick, VP/General Manager of the Round Rock Express AAA baseball team,

I’m willing to bet that you have no idea what kind of a maelstrom of events you have set in motion. I get that your baseball team is in Round Rock and Round Rock is in Williamson County and Williamson County is basically Hell on Earth for anyone who thinks Bill O’ Reilly isn’t the Second Coming.

But still.

There is no excuse, NO EXCUSE, for a family-friendly minor league baseball arena to not allow a woman to breastfeed her child from the seat she paid to sit in. I actually just had to stop writing this letter because I couldn’t find the words to, ahem, express my shock, dismay, disappointment, sadness, anger, confusion and flat-out-mouth-hanging-open pissed off-ed-ness.

I mean, seriously? This is the Round Rock Express. This is where kids go to run the bases before games, swim in the pool, climb the rock wall, have a hot dog, catch a foul ball. They go for birthday parties and school trips and to meet famous players on their way to the Astros.

This is where nearly every game has a giveaway as you come in – free gloves or balls or even jerseys and bats for little tykes. It’s the place where Spike the mascot keeps the kids mesmerized. It’s where we do the hokey pokey during the seventh inning stretch.
It’s where we eat ice cream out of little plastic baseball hats and watch fireworks on Fridays.

And now you’re telling me that when my next child is born – 8 weeks from now – I’m not welcome to bring her and feed her at a game? She can’t have a little snack while her brother has ice cream and cheers for Spike? Instead I have to go to the first aid station or a "private area" to feed her? How would you like to be forced to eat YOUR nachos in a first aid station or "private area"?

I’m trying to imagine the conversation someone would have about a nursing mom that would get them so riled up they’d have to complain to management.

[lots of gasping] "Honey! Put down that alcohol you’re allowed to drink in public and look over there!"

[more gasping] "I don’t see any— OH MY GOD [indiscriminate cursing that people can hear three rows behind them] I can’t BELIEVE someone would DO that and in PUBLIC!

[a girl walks by with her thong sticking out of the back of her jeans]

"Just the idea that I might have seen an inch of that woman’s breast before and/or after her baby drinks the perfect elixir for his continuing growth and development… I’m just flabbergasted and disgusted by this."

[absently watches Express player grab his crotch while at bat] "Well I’m going to do something about this atrocity. I can’t believe the things people think they can get away with in PUBLIC!"

Please, Mr. Fendrick, think about what you have done. You have humiliated a mother for feeding her child. You have angered an entire community of like-minded moms. You have done this a week before Mother’s Day. You have tarnished one of the only, true "family-friendly" outings that everyone in the family enjoys – and that we can afford.

I hope you’re prepared for some press. And I hope you rethink your discriminatory policy. Otherwise you’re going to be rethinking your marketing strategy. Mamas buy the baseball tickets, you know. Mamas know how many stadium hot dogs the budget can afford. And mamas know that same amount of money can be spent somewhere else – somewhere her ENTIRE family is welcome. And by "family" I don’t just mean her lactating breasts.

There’s a shitstorm coming, my friend. And you started it. I hope you’re prepared for it.

Sincerely,
Kari
Concerned Mother

***UPDATE***
I just got off the phone Mr. Fendrick himself. He called after I emailed him the above letter (yes, I actually sent it!). He said the Express had "learned a very valuable lesson" and that he is currently working on a nursing-in-public friendly statement to post on the Express web site. I told him I hope that, indeed, they have learned a lesson, because it would be a shame for so many nursing mamas and their families to have to stop coming to games. He was very contrite and not at all defensive – I really do hope he’s learned his lesson and that mothers will not be harassed at any more games. Good grief.

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12 thoughts on “Express yourself

  1. That is a GREAT letter! Shitstorm, indeed! And I can’t believe you are so close to your due date! Wow, mama!

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  2. I think I love you, Kari Anne Roy!!
    I once saw, on National Television…no less, a mama nursing at a Cardinals game. I’m sure the cameraman and/or director thought it was just a cute shot of a mama and fresh baby at the baseball game (as in: see how dedicated our fans are? she even brought this teeny baby to the game.)–I’m sure it wouldn’t have been such a close-up had they known she was nursing at that very moment! I recognized it right away, but it took a couple of replays for my dh to agree, so it was barely noticeable–even to someone who Regularly saw nursing happen.

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  3. Nice one Kari!!!!!!
    Of course if this does not work, you can,
    1) Stop going and start a campaign against the Round Rock. or,
    2)When a staff member complains, push them to the ground and stamp on them repeatedly, screaming “pervert” at the top of your voice. or,
    3)When staff member complains, ask whether they were breast fed or not. If they say yes, simply fix them with a stare, say “That’s ok then!” and continue on as if they weren’t there.
    Kick ass Kari! You could also ask if they eat while on the toilet. This always gets a nice confused look from people…..
    Roger.

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  4. AMEN!! I tandem nursed and you wouldn’t believe some of the remarks I got. (though I will admit that at 9 months with a toddler wrapped around my belly was a funny site)

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  5. And look what I just found on their website!!!
    You TOTALLY rock, mama!!
    BREASTFEEDING POLICY
    The Round Rock Express welcomes mothers who want to breastfeed in the Dell Diamond. The Round Rock Express have privacy areas available or mothers may breastfeed in any public location of the Dell Diamond. All members of the Express staff will support the needs of breastfeeding mothers in this regard.
    http://www.roundrockexpress.com/default.asp?pageId=56

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