Major League Baseball announced this week that all 30 teams must implement new security screening by 2015, either with walk-through metal detectors or hand-held metal detectors. That is in addition to bag checks, which are standard throughout the game.
MLB experimented with the extra screening during last year’s All-Star Game in New York and at both World Series venues (Boston and St. Louis), along with Pittsburgh and San Francisco during the regular season. According to baseball spokeman Michael Teevan, the screening “was effective and received without issue from fans.”
Seattle plans on starting with new security immediately. Fans will pass through metal detectors on Opening Day. The Mariners will have a trial run this weekend during their FanFest at their left field gate.
Passing through a metal detector is much better than being patted down by a creepy guy. I just wonder about the lines, especially on giveaway nights, bad weather, and big series. Bag checks are slow (especially in Baltimore, trust me I know) and now fans will be double-checked.
Also, who will be watching your bag when you have to pass through the metal detector? There are some shady people who 1) attend games and 2) work at the ballparks.
What about the cost?
Will MLB be forking the bill or will each individual team have to foot the bill?
If each team has to pay for the metal detectors and extra training for their employees, that most likely means more ticket price hikes. For some fans, that will make the already expensive tickets (like in Philadelphia), unaffordable.
I am all for the safety of the fans, but I usually feel safe once I am inside the ballpark (unless I am wearing an opposing team’s shirt in Philly). The place with the problems is the parking lots. Metal detectors at stadium gates won’t stop the violence outside. Until there is security present where fans park or get public transportation, the game will not be truly safe.