LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — When Dodger fans step into the stadium Saturday night for the Freeway Series finale with the Angels they’ll notice increased safety measures.
Major League Baseball now requires fans to undergo a screening process that includes stepping through a metal detector.
The new protocols will likely mean added wait time to get to the seats so fans are encouraged to arrive early.
Unlike airport screening, guests won’t be required to remove shoes, belts, jackets or empty their pockets. But their bags will be subject to search. Any bag exceeding the MLB standard of 16″x16″x8″ could be forced to bring it back to the car.
Officials say large metal items such as cases for cell phones and sunglasses should be placed on the screening tables before walking through the metal detectors.
Visitors with strollers, those in wheelchairs, or with medical devices that set off metal detectors, will be offered an alternative screening method.
These procedures were tested at certain gates periodically during the 2014 season and the outcome convinced MLB to extend it to all 30 of the league’s teams this year.
Steve Ethier, Senior VP of Stadium Operations, said the security checks were elevated by MLB “in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.”
The team is expecting some bumps in the road early on, however, with some fans voicing concerns about a backlog at the gates, making lines longer to get in.
“I think it’s kind of intense, because what’s going on? Why is this such a big deal now? It’s kind of concerning,” Dodgers fan Megan Lonasney said.
Others have showed support for tightening checks.
“I think these new heightened security measures are a wonderful idea,” said Dodgers fan Maria Castellanos. “I have been wanting this to happen for quite a few years now, so I really feel safe to be here with my entire family today.”
The change comes four years after a Giants fan was severely beaten outside Dodger Stadium. Bryan Stow suffered permanent brain damage. Marvin Norwood, 34, and Louie Sanchez, 32, were sentenced to state prison for the attack.