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Baseball to increase security

Attack has league officials rethinking stadium protocol

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NEW YORK — Baseball fans will need extra time to get into stadiums and will find it more difficult to bring their own food when games resume Monday.

Major league baseball announced several additional security initiatives Friday — including the banning of coolers, backpacks and large bags — that will be put in place when games resume for the first time since Tuesday's terrorist attacks that shut down the sports world.

"Fan safety and security is a paramount issue and that's what we're dealing with," Kevin Hallinan, baseball's senior vice president of security, said Friday. "Security and safety is our highest priority."

Under the new plan, all bags will be inspected; there will be more uniformed police officers; stadiums will be inspected each day before gates open; parking will be restricted within 100 feet of any stadium; all ballpark deliveries will be inspected; and club personnel will undergo new training.

"We do a very complete and thorough job making sure when our gates are open that we have secure facilities," Hallinan said. "I think fans will be very comfortable with these provisions."

Fans still will be allowed to bring in food and nonalcoholic drinks, as long as the items are in plain view. Reds chief operating officer John Allen said the goal is to make fans feel safe without becoming too restrictive.

"It's a fine line, whether you're going to a baseball game or to a mall or to anything we do in our daily lives," Allen said. "I think we're all going to contemplate how this impacts it — not just in sports events but everything we do."

Baseball stopped short of more drastic measures, such as the use of metal detectors for fans before entering stadiums.

"Quite honestly my view is that is an extreme," Hallinan said. "Baseball is a family sport. That's not an expectation of our fans and it's not something we deem necessary. As security experts we are able to address many of these issues very quietly and not turn it into a security event."

Colorado Rockies owner Jerry McMorris agreed metal detectors were unnecessary but encouraged fans to arrive earlier than normal to accommodate the new inspections.

"Overall, it's not going to be anything heavy-handed," McMorris said. "It's going to be appropriate to the situation.

"I would think everybody's got to be operating with a higher level of security and consciousness than they normally would," he said.

Hallinan said baseball officials are planning to meet with Federal Aviation Administration officials to discuss team travel. Hallinan said baseball will have no say in altering flight patterns to keep airplanes away from stadiums.

"Those kinds of issues are out of our purview," Hallinan said. "The FBI, police and all those folks deal with those issues."