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Family Says They Were Escorted Out Of PNC Park By Police Over Mask Dispute

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A local family says they were ejected from a Pirates game over masking.

They're a blended family — a boyfriend and girlfriend with two kids — who said they went to a Pirates game last Sunday looking for a peaceful afternoon at PNC Park.

Instead, they were ejected and escorted out of the park during the eighth inning by a cadre of police officers over a dispute about proper mask-wearing. They called the experience traumatizing.

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"To have that kind of presence there with your children and be treated like a criminal for eating and drinking, when you're just trying to follow the rules and spend all that money, that's something you can never get back," said Amanda Alderson of Hickory.

The couple says they bought food and drinks and removed their masks to consume but were warned to put them on by an usher. Later in the eighth inning, the same usher gave them a warning card, but it was more than a warning.

"She said we weren't following the policy and we needed to leave. We said we weren't going to leave and then there were about seven police officers standing there," Alderson said.

Matthew Blistan said, "My son was crying the whole time. He thought we all going to be arrested. Or I was going to be arrested or go to jail."

In a statement, the Pirates did not address the specifics of this incident but confirmed it is one of "less than a handful of ejections" over compliance with their mask policy this season.

The team says ushers have been asked to politely remind fans who are not wearing masks when not actively eating or drinking to put them on.

"Rather than focus on the extremely small number of incidents, the focus really should be on thanking the extreme vast majority of fans who have worked with us to abide by the current guidelines. Their patience and understanding that we are all in this together has been critical in allowing all of us to get back together again at PNC Park," the Pirates said.

Alderson doesn't know if she'll be returning to PNC Park.

"I've taken my daughter since she was born to these games, but I don't know if I'll be back after this," she said

The Pirates called this an isolated incident, saying their staff and fans have been working together trying to enjoy baseball during a pandemic.

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