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Big League Stew

NYPD off-duty cop arrested at Citi Field after moving to better seat

Big League Stew

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(AP, Debbie Egan-Chinn/NY Daily News)

The recent tale of NYPD Officer Eduardo Cornejo serves as a warning to any fan visiting Citi Field to watch the New York Mets: If security asks you to move from a seat that's not yours, don't just sit there.

Cornejo, who was off-duty on Wednesday night, possessed a legal ticket for the Mets-Cincinnati Reds game but was not sitting in the assigned seat when ballpark security confronted him about 9:30 p.m., the New York Post reported. Just about any fan could tell you that many ballparks have a policy (official or otherwise) that relaxes restrictions on where you can sit later in a game when a stadium is half-empty (or so). That reportedly was the approximate condition of Citi when security realized Cornejo was out of place.

Now, before anyone gets his or her feathers ruffled over EVIL BALLPARK SECURITY being draconian with a regular guy (and a peace officer, at that), let's hear from Cornejo's superior. The New York Daily News actually quoted the city's police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, about what happened:

"He was in a section he wasn't supposed to be," Kelly said. "They asked him to leave. He wouldn't. [A] supervisor asked him to leave. He wouldn't. The uniformed police sergeant asked him to leave. He wouldn't, and he was arrested as a result."

Oh. So much for the proletariat. The Post also described Cornejo as "drunk." That detail hasn't been noted anywhere else that I saw, but it might help explain Cornejo's statement on what happened:

"I'm sorry but I have no comment," Cornejo said.

Oh, NOW he's polite!

Of course, many baseball fans feel it's within their rights — no, duty — to "move down" or "trade up" to better seats that have been and will be otherwise unoccupied. When ballpark ushers get all huffy about preventing fans from doing this, they make it seem like they're flight attendants pulling the curtain on coach to separate it from first class. Elitism! (One aspect none of the Cornejo stories have explained: How did security know Cornejo wasn't where he belonged? I have some profiling-related theories. Perhaps you do too.)

Yeah, there's the part about how fans in the better seats paid for those seats, but I have this utopian dream of equality and brotherhood and whatever and it starts at the ballpark. If they like, under the right conditions, fans from the nosebleeds should enjoy the privilege of moving to better seats because it harms no one. But it also only makes sense that, if security does ask you to move back, you comply. My utopian dream can stand only so much anarchy.

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