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MLB Officials Meet, Discuss Security Procedures

Baseball security people are focused on backpacks. The question is, why? Backpacks in and of themselves are not inherently evil.


Interestingly enough, the meeting among security chiefs from all 30 major-league teams was not held in the wake of the Boston bombings; according to the Washington Post, this meeting had been previously scheduled:

"This stadium operations meeting scheduled for later this week was not a product of the incidents in Boston," MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said Tuesday. "It is a part of our ongoing efforts to discuss state-of-the-art security measures with the clubs, and it’s standard operating procedure."

Among the security topics that could be discussed are backpacks that fans bring into ballparks.

Each team has different policies for fans, although the general major league limitation on bag sizes is 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches. Teams might talk about whether they want to cut that down from the size of a standard school backpack to something such as a laptop carrying bag.

It's true that baseball security operations people should be concerned; there's no doubt that the moderate-to-large crowds that baseball games draw could be a target for terrorist actions. Let's hope that never happens. I note that the word "backpack" is prominently mentioned in that quote; the alleged Boston bombers had reportedly transported their bombs to the scene in backpacks.

I bring things I need to Wrigley Field in a backpack; so do many others I know. Backpacks in and of themselves are not inherently evil; what Major League Baseball needs to do, in my view, if they do choose to enhance security, is to better train staff at ballparks to look for potential danger. The type of bag brought into a ballpark should be irrelevant. Further, as Craig Calcaterra writes:

One would hope that a single event, however tragic, will not cause sports leagues to engage in a crackdown which makes going to games a much more difficult and much less enjoyable experience, but after how the whole of this country has reacted to threats, real or imagined, over the past twelve years, I’m not at all optimistic.

Please note: I am well aware that there are possible political overtones to discussion of this topic. I understand that, but we are discussing one narrow effect of this -- attendance at baseball stadiums and how it could be affected by changes in security procedures. Please keep your comments to that only, and your political views to yourself. Thanks.