Major League Baseball teams will screen all fans attending games next season, more than likely in the form of full-body metals detectors, according to MLB's head of security.
The commissioner's office is issuing guidelines for increased security at regular-season games next season, and they're expected to to finalized before the Winter Meetings in two weeks. The issue: How to keep fans safe while not hugely inconvenience them. From AP:
Major League Baseball security director John Skinner said on Friday that all 30 teams are expected to screen all fans entering their ballparks next season. Some aspects of the screening will be left to individual teams, but the commissioner's office is planning to recommend walk-through metal detectors, he said.
"It's the reality, unfortunately, of this world," Skinner said at the Ivy Sports Symposium at the Harvard Law School. "Ultimately, it will happen."...
"We have been reviewing our security procedures for many months and we will issue a security bulletin in 2014 that will include practices and procedures that are responsive to the new security environment," MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said in an email. "Fan screening will be one of the subjects addressed. We are continuing to consult with our clubs, our experts and the Department of Homeland Security, and we expect to announce specific changes after some further off-season meetings."
To say that full-body searches will be a huge hassle is still an understatement: screening 30,000+ fans will certainly cause huge bottlenecks at the gate. On the one hand, it's certainly going to irritate a great many fans, especially the family crowd MLB claims is a target audience: anyone with children knows there's no such thing as traveling light. On the other hand, the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon are still vivid for anyone who works in sports crowd control, so it's natural MLB would want to avoid something huge event impacting thousands of people.
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