“We were the sales department’s dream: ‘Can you give up 1,000 seats in the nosebleed section?’” said Butler-Gluck, explaining that the knitters sat in the upper deck to avoid foul balls.
While many of the formal Stitch N’ Pitch events have tailed off, some teams, like the San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers and Mariners still host yearly gatherings. In Vancouver, McDaniel said, local stores organize several knitting nights at Canadians games every year.
Meredith Wills, a California-based data scientist for a sports technology company, has been to several such events throughout the country. She has also combined her expertise in knitting — she has knitted a few replica items that are now at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. — with her love of baseball and background in physics.
“As I’m sitting talking now, I’m knitting,” Wills said in a recent phone interview. “It’s one of those things that when I’m around the house watching TV or listening to a game, I’ll always be knitting. Even at conferences, people have seen me knitting. I focus better, I pay more attention, I ask better questions.”
The knitters all said they were used to the raised eyebrows that their yarn-twirling behavior drew at baseball stadiums. “I always knit in public, so I’m used to getting weird looks,” Butler-Gluck said.
Pojrazov, 24, said older, male baseball fans had made comments about her knitting at games. “They’re maybe a little bit defensive of their turf,” she said, “Like, ‘I don’t think this girl knows baseball and isn’t paying attention to it. Look at her knitting.’ Some people think it’s funny.”
Pojrazov offered that theory during a Blue Jays-Yankees game at Rogers Centre, where she is so well-known as a knitter that she has been asked to make a 1920s Babe Ruth Yankee sweater — which she did. As she spoke in the left-field seats, her hands didn’t stop moving.