Just in time for the holidays, Major League Baseball has decided that the days of walking in the ballpark with a cooler full of weenies and adult beverages are going to be a thing of the past … time. It’s time to get serious at the gate, and they are not talking about higher ticket prices.
According to a story by the Associated Press, all baseball fans at every MLB ballpark in the nation will go through metal detectors or some type of high security in 2014.
“It’s the reality, unfortunately, of this world,” Major League Baseball security director John Skinner said at the Ivy Sports Symposium at the Harvard Law School. “Ultimately, it will happen.”
Skinner made the comments during on a panel called “Preparing for the Worst: Crisis Management.” Among the other panelists was Tom Grilk, the executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the Boston Marathon.
Gone are the days of feeling like ballparks are exempt from high security and the possible ne’er-do-well at the game only being a drunk fan. Today, those malevolent souls can be terrorists, snipers or just some whack-job with an ax to grind. And to ensure that ax doesn’t end up in some athlete’s medulla, all 30 teams are expected to screen all fans with metal detectors and other security measures.
I’m not only a die-hard, life-long fan of the Texas Rangers, I’m also a previous employee.
During my days of working for the Arlington Police Department, I worked part-time security at the games. Sure, it was a way to sneak a peek at free baseball, most notably, Nolan Ryan’s glory days of his 5,000th strikeout, sixth and seventh no-hitters and the day he doinked this douchebag who tried to bum rush him on the mound. (Hey, I did my duty. Benefits came with it. Sue me.)
While I was screaming at the top of my lungs watching Rangers baseball, I was a man without a metal detector. Times were different then. It was a sift through a purse, a perusal through a cooler and the once-over of a fan. That was it. Let that laissez-faire security happen today and you could get reported. People expect security. Well, the people who want to be secure do. The others? Not so much. And who cares? I would rather walk through a metal detector to guarantee safety at a ballpark, than not — and don’t.
So, why now from MLB? Why not? At least, ask this guy:
“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 offseason meetings.”
Meet all you want, Major League Baseball. This needs to happen. Metal detectors should be welcomed additions at the gate. And people should feel safer. To the men of baseball, I only have one thing to say, “Play … ball?” (See what I did there?)