KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo Growlers will have a message for their fans during its June 3 game: put down your phones.
The Growlers will ban cellphones from their ballpark for that night. Patrons will be forced to hand over their phones when they enter the stadium. For the people who manage to sneak their phones into the ballpark, staffers will ask them to give the devices up or specially-trained ‘phone umpires’ will eject them.
“We just think there’s a time and place for them. There’s a good message, where you can come to a ballgame and not need your cellphone. Twenty years ago, you didn’t have them. We just think it’s a cool thing to try, and we’re going have a lot of fun with it,” said Growlers Vice President Brian Colopy.
For those worried about not being able to take pictures with their phones, more photographers will be at the ballpark to take photos of fans.
The Growlers will be teaming up with Mattawan High School students to educate fans on the dangers of using a phone while driving. The students recently led an “Every Distraction Limits Reaction” campaign, which reached more than 1,200 students at Mattawan High School.
“Spreading the message about the dangers of distracted driving is crucial in today’s world. I am so honored to not only bring that message to Mattawan High School with the help of my team but to have a night for all ages to realize how one text or call can alter a lifetime,” said Brooke Hinz, who received statewide recognition for the campaign, in a statement.
The Growlers will share tips on how to limit screen time, such as installing a ‘time limit’ app to reduce time using unessential apps, using a real alarm clock instead of a phone and keeping devices in a different room during the night.
The team has become known for its unique theme nights. In 2014, they won promotion of the year for the ‘Salute to Selfie’ night. In 2016, the team gained national attention again with their “emojersies.” They say the phone free night at Homer Stryker Field will be the first-of-its-kind promotion as well.
The Growlers open their season on May 28.