MLB security is more than preventing runners from stealing bases


Fenway Park

Amidst the progressively louder and louder build-up about security fears about the Sochi Olympics, you may have missed news about increased security plans at major league ballparks.

MLB has requested all its parks have increased security measures in place by 2015

Baseball has said its 30 teams will have to screen fans with metal detectors at stadium entry points starting in 2015, the Associated Press reports. Teams can pick between hand-held metal detectors or walk-through magnetometers.

“This procedure, which results from MLB’s continuing work with the Department of Homeland Security to standardize security practices across the game, will be in addition to bag checks that are now uniform throughout MLB,” baseball spokesman Michael Teevan told the AP.

Last year, several baseball teams, led by the Red Sox after the Boston Marathon bombings and including the New York Mets, Oakland, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, tested fan screening at various points in the season.

“We conducted testing of these measures at the All-Star game and at both World Series venues last year, and we were pleased that it was effective and received without issue from fans,” Teevan said.

In Minnesota, Twins fans should expect to see metal detectors at Target Field this coming season.

In a press release, the Mariners have announced that beginning on Opening Night, April 8, against the Los Angeles Angels, all fans passing through the gates of Safeco Field will be screened with metal detectors.

Fans at Safeco Field will pass through walk-through magnetometers while their tickets are being scanned. Devices are being installed at all public entrances. Those who do not wish to pass through a metal detector will have the option of being checked with a hand-held device. “Fan safety and security is our top priority. The Mariners and Major League Baseball are keenly aware of the current security environment at public events. We believe this step is necessary, poses minimal inconvenience, and ultimately will serve the best interests of all fans,” said Sylvester Servance, Mariners Director of Security.

In Tampa, Rays officials said they do not yet know the cost of the extra security, but said the team and not St. Petersburg, which owns Tropicana Field, will pick up the tab. They hope to purchase a system that can screen each fan in less than 30 seconds to avoid turnstile delays. “We want to do what is required by MLB in the most efficient manner that will be the least intrusive for our fans, and that’s what we are discussing now,” said Rick Vaughn, a spokesman for the Rays.

In St. Louis, the Cardinals are still in the early planning stages. Team spokeswoman Melody Yount said, “I know we aren’t implementing security wands until next year, which is the requirement,” Yount said. “There is quite a bit of cost involved and a lot of things need to be worked out. So the big changes won’t come until 2015.”

In Kansas City, Royals spokesman Toby Cook said, “I won’t say that every fan that walks through will be wanded, but it will be a lot more than it has been in the past.”

“We want to make this the safest environment possible. We feel like Kauffman is safe. We are also very aware that this is an entertainment venue,” Cook said. “Baseball is a little different sport. It’s suppose to be leisurely, you really come out here to relax and have fun. We don’t want to take that away. We are going to process people as quickly as possible.”

MLB’s security department is working with CEIA, a manufacturer of walk-through metal detectors, and GSIS, a security procedures consultant, to help clubs revise their methods and train staff.

(Material used in this story is drawn from a variety of local sources)