It is a warm, sunny day as Boston University senior and Yankee fan Nicholas Picht walks up to the famous green monster. As Picht gets closer to his gate at Fenway Park, he notices something different. He witnesses a long line of people trailing down Lansdowne Street.
“There are never lines at Fenway,” said Picht. “The only lines usually are the ones for sausages outside the park.”
Fenway Park has instituted new security measures for the start of the 2015 season. Fenway released a statement saying,
“To comply with Major League Baseball stadium operations practices for the 2015 season, and to enhance security and expedite screenings at the gates, fans will walk through new metal detectors at every gate. Fans will remove cell phones, cameras, and other large metal objects before walking through the metal detectors. Fans do not need to remove smaller objects, such as wallets, coins, keys, jewelry, eyeglasses, shoes, and belts."
According to Picht, there was no real security in the past. He said he remembers getting patted down quickly, and that was it.
These new measures are a part of the Major League Baseball’s initiative for higher security across all stadiums in the league. According to a MLB press release, the league has been working with the Department of Homeland Security standardize all 30 team’s stadiums. Fans should expect screening by hand-held metal detection or walk-trough magnetometers. Bag checks were already a uniform procedure at all ballparks.
In a news release, John McHale Jr., MLB’S Executive Vice President of Administration, said,
"Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our fans. In the last several seasons, our experiences in many markets and at our jewel events have indicated that fans have a high level of understanding of these efforts. We believe this step will pose minimal inconvenience and ultimately will serve the best interests of fans."
“Yankee Stadium has had stricter security for a while, especially in the new stadium,” said Picht. “New York is different, well maybe not since the marathon here, but ever since 9/11 New York security is top notch everywhere.”
Nicholas Neville, a freshman at Boston University, said, “The Sox are my home team. Security never really crossed my mind when going to a game. I figured this was the way all ballparks did it and have done it for years.”
Alyssa Galvin, a junior at Boston University and Red Sox fan, also had the same reaction. She said she never gave security at Fenway much thought before, but noticed it at other venues.
“I went to a game at Gillette last season and waited in line for 45 minutes,” said Galvin.
According to the Department of Homeland Security in “Fiscal Year 2014 Report to Congress,” the National Football League already implemented the Center for Visualization and Data Analytics or CVADA.
The CVADA provides “simulation and screening tools that helped MetLife make on-scene decisions... CVADA-Rutgers also produced a best practices manual for stadium security operations.” According to this report, the CVADA was also planning to work with the MLB, which is now in effect.
“Security is something you have to plan for and there is no reason why baseball stadiums shouldn't be taking the same precautions as other venues,” said Galvin.
When Galvin was waiting in line at Fenway, she said it only took about ten minutes longer than usual, but she already noticed people getting impatient. There were even those who tried to cut the line. According to the “A-Z Guide” on Fenway’s website, the gates do open 90 minutes before the game starts, which gives fans’ time to settle in.
“People will be bothered when their normal routines are disrupted, but everyone will probably be used to it within the year,” Galvin said.
Her advice for fans is to not bring bags because the “no bag” line moves much faster.
Neville said, “Too much preparation is not needed. Just arrive ten minutes earlier than you have in the past.”
He did say the metal detectors were a big change for him, because it felt like airport security.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the MLB has already worked with them for the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign that other sports leagues and venues implement as well. Homeland Security has been awarded more than $36 billion dollars in grant funding to “prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from threats or acts of terrorism.”
All three fans go to at least five Red Sox games a season and agreed that these precautions are necessary, especially with the recent events in Boston and across the United States.
“You could have brought a bomb into Fenway and no one would have known,” said Picht. “It is 2015. With the many things that have happened in the world, you need security.”
Click here for a map of the gates at Fenway Park:
He did admit that it was relaxing to just walk right into Fenway for a game and not have to be bothered, but the new measures do not deter from the fun.
“Let them pat you down, don't bring dumb things, and just go and have fun,” said Picht.
Neville said, “You can never be too careful at large sporting events.”
Fans should also be on the look out for updates by their hometown teams on the new programs that they will implement.
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