Reporting Rick Dayton
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It was a magical night at the PNC Park Tuesday as the No. 1 draft pick from 2011 made his big league debut with the Pirates.
Gerrit Cole carried a shutout into the seventh inning and won his first game.
But for fans who had to deal with new security at the ballpark, it wasn’t nearly as much fun.
There were long lines Tuesday to get through upgraded security and that meant many fans missed the start of the game.
For some, it was a whole lot more.
My brother and I have tickets and I think we are getting in the fourth or fifth inning,” one fan said.
Some dealt with delays better than others.
“It’s lengthy. It’s definitely lengthy, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Alex said.
Making matters worse, the team’s heightened security that included hand scanning every fan with a metal detector came when more than 30,000 wanted to get inside to see the team’s top prospect Cole make his debut.
“This was handled really poorly. There wasn’t much notice given to people. I think they picked an odd night to set up these types of security procedures before the start of the most exciting prospect in the past how many years,” John said.
Eventually, the team lifted the revisited security plan and fans were allowed to enter the game under the old rules with no metal detectors.
“I believe security is great, but it’s 10 or 11 years, 12 years since 9/11 and people don’t need any more obstacles to going to Pirates games,” Robinson said.
A man who runs a South Side night club said this is simply a sign of the times.
“That’s no joke because that’s people’s safety in there and I’m glad they are doing it,” Xavier Maxwell said.
Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly released this statement Wednesday regarding the new security measures:
“On behalf of the Pirates organization, I again apologize to our fans for the long lines at the gates prior to last night’s game due to increased security measures. While we expected to experience some growing pains in implementing the use of medal detecting wands at the gates, the experience last night was unacceptable. That cannot and will not happen again. We are constantly working to provide our fans with the best experience possible at PNC Park.
The safety of our guests will always be a top priority, and thus, we remain committed to the use of medal detecting wands. However, we have made adjustments to our staffing, gate access points and procedures to ensure that our fans do not experience the type of lines that they encountered last night.
We will also work to better educate our fans on what to expect when entering the ballpark and how they can help us expedite the screening process. In that regard, fans are encouraged to allow for additional time when coming to the game. We also encourage fans to leave all unnecessary bags and metal objects at home or in their cars before coming into the ballpark. When approaching the security screener, we ask fans to please hold their keys, cell phones and any other metal objects in their hands.
We value each and every one of our fans and want their experience at the ballpark to be thoroughly enjoyable. We appreciate their patience and support as we work together to make PNC Park an even more secure place to watch Pirates baseball.”