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Stupid, stupid, stupid - free hat day at the Orioles

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It's almost three weeks now and I'm still shaking my head at the stupidity of the Baltimore Orioles and the Miller Brewing Company. On July 22 I was with my family among the small crowd who showed up for the Orioles' game against the Angels. It was Floppy Hat night.

I knew we were going to be in the area that night so I got tickets to go to the game. When we arrived at the gate we discovered the Orioles were giving away free hats. Among the four of us the only one who cared was my 10-year-old son. He was keen to get his hands on his free floppy hat.

I was first through the gate and was handed my hat. My son was next. "Sorry, the hats are only for those 21 and over." Thanks to the fact that the hats were sponsored by Miller Lite they could only be given out to those of legal drinking age.

This policy contains within it so much stupidity that it probably requires a PhD length thesis to do it justice, but the long and the short of it is that this is garbage.

First of all, the hats are so ridiculous that only a kid would want one. Sure many of those adults who got one wore it during the game – for a while – but the truth is only a kid would actually wear the hat. Why are the Orioles and Miller giving away hats that only kids would love, but only giving them to adults?

Next, if the team and beer company were only adhering to the law, then why not have two boxes of hats: one for adults with the beer logo and one for kids without? Maybe the kids' hats could have been sponsored by Build-A-Bear or whatever.

Next, if they were only for those 21 and over why were they not demanding ID from those who were in and around that age? My 16-year-old daughter was handed one by the same man who told my son 'no'. Anyone with half a brain knows why they weren't demanding ID before giving older teens these hats – because it's stupid, just as denying the younger kids was stupid.

Now I don't know if the team and Miller were (being seen as) obeying the law, but let's assume they were. Then the law is stupid too. My wife and I can better judge what's appropriate for our kids to wear than can any legislators. If anything I'd rather they barred my 16-year-old from getting a beer logo hat than my 10-year-old. He's still a long way from the beer-drinking age, legal or illegal.

Fortunately for us, we got three hats and only one of us wanted one. So my son has three hats. From what I could see there were no parents wearing the hats while their kids went without, but on the walk to the stadium I saw a man with four boys. I thought about him during the game and wondered how annoyed he was after hearing that the boys weren't entitled to hats. I'd have been fuming.

When I was a kid give‑away days at the ball park were for kids. They were part of what helped make you a baseball fan – that free batting helmet or batting glove or cap or bat (even if it was from the Yankees) – were cherished items. Nowadays it seems teams don't mind using give‑away days to alienate the next generation of fans. Stupid.

{Photo from mlb.com}

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