By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -
In the wake of the Boston bombings, Major League Baseball is stepping up security at its stadiums.
Some stadiums will see airport-like security as fans go through stand-up metal detectors. The Royals plan to increase the use of hand-held metal detectors at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals fans said they welcome increased security, but they don't want their entry to the stadium delayed too much. MLB says the technology was tested during the All-Star game and the World Series, and no major problems were experienced.
"I'm not sure they need them, but anything that's going to protect us is ok. If MLB feels that will make the experience better, and we all stay safe, I'm all for it," fan Bob Morrie said.
The Seattle Mariners announced this week that fans entering Safeco Field will have to walk through metal detectors starting with this year's opener.
Boston, the New York Mets, Oakland, Pittsburgh and San Francisco were among the teams that experimented with screening at times last year. Security gained more intense focus after three people were killed and more than 260 wounded when two bombs were set off at the Boston Marathon finish line.
Big league teams have generally limited bags that fans bring to 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches.
In an effort to increase security this season, the NFL limited the size and type of bags fans can bring to games. With the exception of medically necessary items, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches have been allowed. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags also were permitted along with clear plastic bags approximately the size of someone's hand.
The Chiefs wand and pat down fans at Arrowhead Stadium, and some fans think that process takes too long.
Royals spokesman Toby Cook said MLB wants to standardize security at its stadiums. Clubs will use 2014 to figure out best practices, and then set the standard in 2015.
"I won't say that every fan that walks through will be wanded, but it will be a lot more than it has been in the past," Cook said.
The Royals don't plan to send every fan through a metal detector, but they will do some testing of metal detectors to see how it works. Cook said the goal is to keep those at the stadium safe without creating the feel of going to an airport or the federal courthouse.
"We want to make this the safest environment possible. We feel like Kauffman is safe. We are also very aware that this is an entertainment venue," Cook said. "Baseball is a little different sport. It's suppose to be leisurely, you really come out here to relax and have fun. We don't want to take that away. We are going to process people as quickly as possible."
Fan Mike Wedel said the Royals do a good job at keeping people safe.
"It's always a certain insecurity going into a group like that," he said. "Unfortunately, it's something we have to do. It's the world we live in right now. You put up with it for that feeling of safety."
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). and Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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