All spring training fans will be greeted by metal detectors at Roger Dean Stadium when spring training games start Feb. 25.
“We want to make sure no guns or knives or long poles get through,” said Mike Bauer, general manager of the 7,000-seat stadium in Abacoa. “This is a directive from Major League Baseball to all spring training facilities in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues. We want a safer environment.”
Fans should arrive about 15 minutes earlier than usual to make sure they get into the park on time, Bauer said.
Bags held by fans were searched in previous years at entry gates at the stadium, spring training home of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
All fans this year will be asked to remove cellphones and other items from their pockets and place them in a container on a conveyor belt that will pass through the metal detector.
Team personnel will use metal-detecting wands on fans who set off alarms when they walk in, Bauer said.
It’s the same system used at the Palm Beach County Courthouse and other professional sports facilities, Bauer said.
Stadium officials paid about $50,000 for the 10 machines, he said.
“Most people are used to the drill. Fans should come a little bit early to get through the lines,” Bauer said.
The directive from Major League Baseball was a result of the June 2016 shootings in Orlando and other incidents. The new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches will use hand-held devices on selected guests.
The detectors are not a response to weapons being brought into Roger Dean Stadium, Bauer said.
“We haven’t had any issues here at Roger Dean Stadium. But we are in a different world today,” he said.- by Bill DiPaolo, Palm Beach Post (Florida)
Buffalo Bisons setting up metal detectors this season
Anyone catching a Buffalo Bisons baseball game or other event at Coca-Cola Field this year will have to walk through a metal detector to enter the ballpark.
Metal detectors will be set up at each entrance, including all fan gates, as well as the entrance to Pettibones Grille and the center field pavilion, the Bisons announced Monday.
The new security measures, which take effect Opening Day on April 6, also include a no re-entry policy once a fan has entered the stadium. The new policy includes anybody who wishes to leave the park to smoke.
“We are extremely proud of our long-standing reputation of providing our fans with a safe and comfortable ballpark experience each and every time they come to Coca-Cola Field,” said Mike Buczkowski, vice president and general manger of the Bisons, in a news release. “We are taking these steps to further ensure our guests can fully enjoy the fun and exciting atmosphere of Bisons baseball in 2017 and for many years to come.”
No specific incident prompted the Bisons to add metal detectors this season, said Brad Bisbing, public relations director. He said the change followed an annual review of operations at the ballpark.
The Bisons will become the first team in the International League and among the first in all of Minor League Baseball to introduce walk-through metal detectors at their park, said Randy A. Mobley, league president.
Mobley said the league has ongoing discussions about security but there is no leaguewide initiative regarding metal detectors specifically. He noted the detectors are “not an insiginficant investment” being undertaken by team ownership.
Most gates at Coca-Cola Field will continue to open an hour before first pitch during the coming season, though that time is subject to change.
Fans will only have to take their phones and cameras out of their pockets before passing through the detectors. Some fans may be subject to being wanded by security personnel. Fans will still be able to bring in one plastic water bottle (20 oz., factory sealed), as well as a single portion, clear plastic sandwich bag per person and a small juice box per child.-by Aaron Besecker, The Buffalo News (New York)