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Metal detectors at Chase, effective Friday

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Yeah, as of the exhibition games this weekend, new security measures will be in place at Chase, as required by major-league baseball.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Enhanced security measures, in compliance with Major League Baseball's league-wide security initiative, will require all guests to walk through metal detectors upon entrance to Chase Field starting April 3, 2015.

As you approach your gate, your ticket will be scanned. You will then be instructed to remove your cell phone and large metal objects and place in a bin on a table, along with your personal handbag or backpack. Pocket change will not be required to be put into the bin. Security will then check any bags and ask you to proceed through the metal detector.

The Arizona Diamondbacks strongly encourage fans to arrive to the ballpark early. While we are making every effort to ensure this procedure does not slow down entrance, we want to be sure you have ample time for security detection.
-- Email from the team

Something something the terrorists have won. But, hey, at least it appears you won't have to take your shoes off. So, something something victory for freedom! This is, of course, nothing really to do with the Diamondbacks, but is the results of an edict handed down from MLB, Perhaps due to the games at Chase starting a bit earlier, the team has got a jump on the process, and has already updated the website. [A random check of the equivalent page for the Rockies shows no such update, though I did learn that prohibited items at Coors Field include "medical marijuana," something as yet not banned at Chase...] This tells us the following:

Q: What can I expect when I arrive at the Gate?
A: Signage will be placed in various locations leading up to each gate. As you approach a Gate your ticket will be scanned and our Guest Services Representatives will greet you and then instruct you to "Please remove your cell phone or larger metal objects ONLY and place them in the bin on the table or inside your personal handbag or backpack". Small sets of keys or change will not be required to be put into the bin. Security will then check any bags you may be carrying and then ask you to proceed through the detector.

It's good that they'll get to dry-run the operation with relatively small crowds on Friday and Saturday; the potential for chaos on Monday, with 45,000+ coming to the ballpark for Opening Night, doesn't need to be detailed. The teams stressed, both in the email and on the site, "We are making every effort to insure our enhanced procedure does not slow down the process of entering Chase Field," but the webpage follows this up with a veiled 'suggestion' to allow extra time: "We always welcome our fans to come early and enjoy the ballpark sights and sounds." In this case, perhaps the sight of a line snaking round the concourse and the sound of beeping metal-detectors.

We polled readers about the issue in November 2013, when the topic was first breached, and only 13% felt that current ballpark security was "too little." I tend to agree: I've never felt unsafe in regard to terrorism at the ballpark in the slightest, though I do recall having to go through metal detectors a few years ago, for a series when the Cubs were in town. In the absence of any specific threats - unless, of course, there have been some (although the year-plus gap since the suggestion was raised suggests otherwise) - this tends to feel like security theater more than anything particularly useful, in terms of protecting the public.

I confess, this being Arizona, and me being British, I did have to suppress a smirk at the last two questions on the security FAQ. The penultimate one was, "I have a concealed weapon permit; can I bring in my firearm?". Short answer: no. This was followed by, "Chase Field is a public facility, what about my constitutional right to carry a weapon?" Short answer: no, for this purpose it isn't a public facility, so please leave your constitutional rights at the door. Along, you should note, with any knives that have blades longer than three inches...