When did MLB stop allowing fans on the field?

Major League Baseball (MLB) is America’s oldest and most popular professional sport. It has been around since the late 1800s and has been the national pastime for more than a century. Throughout the years, the game has evolved in various ways, including rules, equipment, and the fan experience. One of the most significant changes to the game has been the MLB’s policy on allowing fans on the field.

When did MLB Start Allowing Fans on the Field?

The MLB began allowing fans on the field shortly after its inception in 1869. The earliest recorded incident of a fan running onto the field was in 1876, when a fan ran onto the field during a National League game between the Chicago White Stockings and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. This trend of fans running onto the field during games continued for several decades, with some fans even attempting to interfere with the game.

Reasons for Allowing Fans on the Field

For a long time, fans were allowed on the field for a variety of reasons. One of the primary reasons was to create a more interactive and engaging atmosphere for the game. Fans were allowed on the field to cheer on their favorite teams and players and to create a festive atmosphere. In addition, fans were allowed on the field to participate in promotions and events that were often sponsored by the teams.

Reasons for Disallowing Fans on the Field

Despite the positives of allowing fans on the field, the MLB eventually decided to disallow them in order to create a safer game environment. Over the years, there had been several incidents of fans getting too close to players and even interfering with the game. As a result, the MLB decided to ban fans from the field in order to prevent any further incidents.

MLB Changes Policy

In 1997, the MLB officially changed its policy and began to disallow fans from the field. The new rule stated that fans would no longer be allowed to enter the field of play during games, except in certain situations, such as during on-field promotions. In addition, the MLB began to enforce stricter penalties for fans who did enter the field, including ejection from the game and potential criminal charges.

MLB Security and Enforcement

In order to enforce the new policy, the MLB began to implement a variety of security measures. Security guards were stationed around the field and the MLB also began to use surveillance cameras to monitor the field. In addition, the MLB began to issue warnings to fans who were seen entering the field, and they also began to issue lifetime bans to repeat offenders.

Fan Reactions to the Change

The policy change was met with mixed reactions from fans. Some fans were in favor of the change, as they felt that it would create a safer environment for the game. Other fans, however, were not happy with the change and felt that it would take away from the fan experience.

MLB’s Continued Commitment to Safety

Since the policy change, the MLB has remained committed to providing a safe and secure environment for players and fans alike. The league has continued to implement a variety of security measures and has also started to use technology to monitor the field. In addition, the MLB has also worked to educate fans about the importance of respecting the rules and regulations of the game.


The MLB’s policy of disallowing fans on the field has been in effect for more than two decades. The policy change was made in order to create a safer game environment and to protect players and fans alike. Despite some fan backlash, the policy has been largely successful in preventing any further incidents of fans entering the field. The MLB has also continued to take measures to ensure the safety of fans and players, and the league remains committed to providing a safe and secure game environment for all.