PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh sports fans – get ready for another tightening of security going into games.
The Pirates, beginning with the home opener on April 13, and the Penguins, starting with the first home game next fall, will both be ushering fans through full metal detectors.
Based on a directive from Major League Baseball, instructing all ballparks to institute metal detecting, the Pirates will make changes in the next few weeks at PNC Park.
Responding to an inquiry from KDKA on Wednesday, Pirates’ Vice President of Communications Brian Warecki issued this statement from Bradenton:
“The Pirates will shift from the use of metal detecting wands to 100 percent walk-through metal detectors at all gates for the 2015 season and for all other major events. The move will not only continue to foster a safe environment at PNC Park, it will also allow for easier and quicker ingress for our fans. We will announce the details of the new entry procedures and what fans coming to PNC Park will need to know in the coming weeks.”
The Pirates aren’t alone; the Penguins will also be installing walk through metal detectors at all gates before the next season begins.
The move comes on orders from the NHL where spokesman John Dellapina told KDKA the change is being made to provide consistency across the entire league.
Some venues already use full metal detectors, while other clubs – like the Penguins – use metal detecting wands as fans enter.
Fans of both teams, like Katie Nord, say they are concerned that the metal detectors “are going to slow everybody down and it’s going to be a bigger line than it already has to be. I think it’s a big hassle.”
But Brad Dornish from Cranberry says, “So many of these things that are happening are a deterrent to enjoying our lifestyle, but on the other hand, with so many things happening in the world, we have to give up something to stay safe.”
Fans wonder about the Pirates’ contention that using walk-through metal detectors will mean “quicker ingress” for fans. In other words, you’ll get into PNC Park faster.
There have been a lot of security changes at all the Pittsburgh sports venues since the attacks on 9/11, and in each case the fans have adapted. The impact on getting into both PNC Park and CONSOL Energy Center will only be known after fans have gone through the process a few times.
As for the Steelers, spokesman Burt Lauten tells KDKA the team remains confident in its current procedures; however, they are always looking at any way to improve fan safety.
Currently, there are no plans to make any changes at Heinz Field.