With only two home games left this season for the Chicago Cubs, it may seem a bit late to be getting this message across, but those games are against the St. Louis Cardinals and this rivalry can lend itself to bad feelings between the fans of both teams.
So, what is a person to do if they are sitting near two fans who are arguing, swearing, smoking or doing anything else that is making that fan’s experience less than wonderful? Sure, you can look for a crowd control person, but depending on where you are seated, you may not be able to find anyone. But, you do have another solution to get security to your section, and you can do this anonymously by sending a text to 69050. You will have to start your text with the word “friendly” and then give the situation and your seat location. Be aware that there should be no punctuation after the word friendly. IPhone users need to pay particular attention to this since a period is automatically placed when you double space after a word. A good example on how to word your text would be, “Friendly Section 304 in the bleachers front row. Someone climbing into basket.”
Some fans may remember a security texting service that was implemented in 2013, however, at the beginning of this season a new system called ISS 24/7 was implemented. You say you had no idea you could text in a problem? According to Julian Green, vice president of communications and community affairs, the text number and the word “Friendly” are shown during pre-game activities on the LED board. Additional LED boards to be installed during the restoration of Wrigley Field will carry the message and reach more people, according to Green. The system the Cubs use was chosen because of its track record with other venues including 17 other ballparks.
Once a text is received the person sending the text will receive a text stating that the text has been received and a member of the Ballpark Operations Team will be notified. Response time varies as texts are prioritized depending on the situation. At times the person sending the text may also receive a text alerting them to the fact that security has been dispatched to the problem location.
yeahstub.com tried a few test text messages and found the texting a bit awkward. Done on an iPhone, we had to make sure there was no punctuation after the word “friendly” and had to make sure all the pertinent information was listed in the text, thus taking attention away from the game. However, in two of the three tests (which were actually real problems) response time for crowd control and/or a supervisor was less than five minutes, too long to catch smokers in the act, but short enough to still be able to see other problems.
“Fans love the texting option because it’s passive and they can do it right from their seat. This system gives our fans an alternative to asking for personnel to come down and physically reporting an issue. Many fans are drawn to the anonymity of the service,” Green stated.
This system was implemented to help stem problems in the ballpark, not to answer questions about where to find a certain beer or where a certain food cart can be found.
This past year dispatch received an average of 10-15 text messages per game. As more people find out about the texting service that number will increase. Always remember that if you do not have a cell plan with unlimited data, normal data rates do apply.