Calling The St. Louis Cardinals' Ballpark Village Racist Misses The Point

By Todd Bennett
St. Louis
Getty Images

In the public eye, there are large distractions, controversies and brouhahas. The St. Louis Cardinals are no stranger to any of these things, but Ballpark Village, funded with the help of taxpayer dollars mind you, is a reminder that anything, and I mean anything, can backfire when not properly finessed. The Cardinals organization employed a developer known for being sued for racial discrimination and are now paying a price.

In question is the specificity of the dress code. Because the dress code refers to exposed undergarments and shirts extending past the length of one’s fingers, it has been construed by many to be racist. The same code also bans caps in some venues entirely and children after 9 p.m. Children don’t go with Gucci, don’t ya know? Whether or not there are blatantly racist undertones is besides the point, because anything can be construed as racist.

What is not debatable is that the code is elitist. In talking to my grandma she expressed that she may not feel comfortable, nor have the proper attire to visit the Village. She is 87 and whiter than Sno-ball coconut. Yet she felt excluded. Other people, like you know, actual baseball fans, might be a bit perturbed that they are not allowed to wear, you know, baseball stuff to somewhere called the Ballpark Village.

It is like banning Legos at Legoland or candy at a circus. In the eternal quest for clientele sanitation the powers that be at Ballpark Village have crafted not a racist declaration of exclusion, but a classist one. Truly the dress code has something to exclude anybody, so if one is looking for a particular group to be wronged, they miss the point. While African-Americans can rightfully claim a grievance banning long shirts, or saggy pants, the Larry the Cable Guy crowd can express venom at not being allowed to wear sleeveless shirts.

However, in a few of its venues, women are allowed to dress like Tijuana tourist traps so the two mainstays of the American yuppie, beer and the objectification of women, remain intact and in force. It seems that the good people of Cordish Development, the geniuses behind these sorts of monuments to urban gentrification, pledge allegiance to the yuppie. But rest assured that yuppie can be white, or black, or Martian so long as the Dockers fit and Polos are not faded. Maybe they should call it Martini Village.

You May Also Like