Northwestern University, in suburban Chicago, is having a totally peanut-free football game this Saturday. They are even power washing the seats so that there is no peanut residue. As the number of people who have an allergy to peanuts has increased, more venues have hosted either peanut free events or set aside certain areas to be peanut free.

My youngest child, Jack, has a pretty serious peanut allergy to the point that we take EpiPens with us whenever we go out. When we lived in Michigan, I had a partial season ticket plan for the Tigers, and usually took my older son, Sam, who, like me, likes baseball a lot. I decided to take Jack to a game so as not to show too much favoritism to his older brother even though Jack was not a baseball fan. I figured he would enjoy being outdoors, plus the ballpark had a carousel and a Ferris wheel. That was one of the bigger mistakes of my life. I've been going to baseball games for decades so I knew we'd have to be careful around any peanuts, but I had no idea how fully peanuts and peanut shells permeate a big league ballpark. There were shells everywhere, including the concourse. Around the seats, forget about it, the shells were all over the place. Then the people who sat next to us and who were really nice people got out the big bag of peanuts they had brought from home. I asked them to be sure to throw their shells away from us, but they decided they just wouldn't eat them and they put them away, which made me feel terrible.

I was so stressed out about the peanuts that I really couldn't enjoy the game, so we wound up leaving around the third inning or so. So, the moral of the story is: don't take a kid with a peanut allergy to a big league baseball game.