The Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t saying “Nuts to you.” They just want peanut-loving fans to be safe when they get their goobers, or so they claim.
Vendor Roger Owens, known for his talent of pitching peanuts to fans at games, has now been barred by his employer, Levy Restaurants, from tossing the bags at fans.
Owens told the Los Angeles Times that Levy Restaurants cited fan safety as its reason for the ban.
The peanut-pitching Owens isn’t just any vendor. He once appeared on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show to showcase his skills. He’s been a vendor since 1962 at the Stadium, and is as much a part of the show as what happens on the field.
Still, he isn’t challenging the ruling, saying he doesn’t want to “pick a fight” with Levy.
“It’s not some bullet that goes straight through. I’m always wanting to make sure that whoever I am throwing to will catch the bag of peanuts. I want them to catch it, because they feel a sense of accomplishment.”
The art of peanut-pitching started about 60 years ago, Owen said, when a fan seated deep in a row asked fo a bag.
“I went behind the back, it wrapped around all these people in the aisle and came right into his hand and everybody started clapping,” Owens told an ESPN “SportsCenter” feature reporter.
“And I was kind of surprised. So I went home and started practicing to an invisible man on the couch.”
There is hope that Owens will make a comeback. The stadium instituted peanut-pitching bans in 1976 and 1985, rescinding the policies when the outcry grew loud.
Owens is hoping for a similar ruling. “Pitching peanuts to the fans brings a lot of joy and happiness,” Owens claimed. “This joy and happiness hasn’t been there.”
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