No, the Seattle Mariners are not passing out hand-held metal detectors to players and fans so they can search for change in the outfield pasture at Safeco Field in order to help pay for Robinson Cano's $240 million contract. Let's get serious now.
As Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune and others are reporting, Safeco is adding metal detectors as a security measure, for fans to walk through, as they enter the ballpark and have their tickets scanned. The M's are getting ahead of the curve in Major League Baseball, which has directed all of its teams to have metal detectors installed by the 2015 seasons.
There's nothing wrong with added security of this kind, especially in this day and age, but it also presents practical issues with getting fans into the ballpark in a timely manner. Having mechanically sound technology will help, but it's also easy to foresee logjams at the gates. Going through security at airports, while obviously necessary, can often be a pain in the rear end for most travelers.
Those who do not wish to pass through a metal detector will have the option of being checked with a handheld device.
The increased security measures are the result of MLB's continuing work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to elevate and standardize security practices across the game. The added security measures are in addition to bag checks that are conducted at all MLB ballparks.
"Fan safety and security is our top priority," said Sylvester Servance, the Mariners' director of security, in a news release. "The Mariners and Major League Baseball are keenly aware of the current security environment at public events. We believe this step is necessary, poses minimal inconvenience, and ultimately will serve the best interests of all fans."
Metal detectors will be installed at Safeco Field's left-field gate this week, and they will be operational for FanFest on Saturday and Sunday.
Fans can help by expecting the process to take longer — especially when the detectors are newly installed. Allow for more time. Try to be patient. Be courteous and cooperative with human security. And remember: It's just a game.
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