The crack of the bat. The roar of the crowd. The smell of popcorn (and/or peanuts and Cracker Jacks).
Yes, sports fans, it won’t be long until major league baseball cranks up another season. And, while fans may be singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” the MLB (at least some teams) will be adding a new lyric: “But leave your drones at home.”
In fact, Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer found himself shut out by MLB last week after league officials banned him from flying his DIY photo-drone. Bauer’s drone snapped a few photos of the Indians’ spring training facility and subsequently received word from the league that UAVs were ejected from America’s Pastime.
Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Paul Hoynes reported the ban on his Twitter feed and fan reaction ranged from amused to frustrated:
“I thought it was the Browns who played in the No Fun League.”
“They used to call radio controlled aircraft a hobby. Now everyone wants to ban them or government control.”
“MLB keeping the man down…literally.”
And it appears the world of sports will continue to feel uneasy or downright paranoid about drones. DRONELIFE recently learned that Homeland Security deployed a drone detector radar system at the MLB All-Star Game in July. Officials dubbed the anti-drone effort “Operation Foul Ball” — appropriate considering that, just as a foul ball can’t be knocked from the sky, the system did not have a means to stop drones from flying over the stadium.
Of course, the word of the MLB is sort of irrelevant considering the FAA already moved to prohibit flying drones near major sporting events back in October. The agency warned drone operators that flying UAVs below 3,000 feet within 3 miles of Major League Baseball, National Football League and NCAA Division I college football games could result in imprisonment or fines.
Drones and sporting events have even caused a stir in other countries. In October, a quadcopter buzzed a European Championship qualifying soccer match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade – a maneuver that many say turned an already-tense game into a brawling melee since the drone doffed a pro-Albanian banner. The ensuing brouhaha ended the game early.
As for Bauer, he told the Plain Dealer that he understand the league’s reaction: “Look, if I flew my drone over MLB-affiliated land, then it’s a precedent for any fan to fly it over. The last thing you want is a fan flying it over during a game and interfering with a game or a player.”
“Obviously, I’m not trying to break any rules here. I enjoy flying the thing. It’s kind of cool and I figured it would take some cool pictures for the fans to see.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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