Metal Detectors

Metal Detectors Ordered; En Route To Busch Stadium

Overcorrection: (n) def: “To correct beyond what is needed, appropriate, or usual.”

Off the top of your head, please list the most recent incidents of gun and/or knife violence inside a MLB stadium. No?

Ok, make that any professional sports area. Still thinking?

You know what, just tell me a time you felt extremely threatened inside an area.

I can’t speak for everyone, but my personal feeling is that arenas and stadiums are pretty safe. Here’s the complete list if you curious. You can make your own opinion.

But that’s not stopping MLB from implementing a policy that states 100% of fans entering a facility must pass through a metal detector or go through a full body wanding by 2015.

They’re certainly not the first to this policy. The NFL went beyond screenings to making women use clear bags. The NHL is using wands. So is the NBA. Baseball is just following suit.

Why?

Insurance, mostly. Competition, probably.

Information on the exact costs to insure stadiums is scarce, but in this cached article from around 2002, insurance companies started raising costs substantially after 9/11 as well as adding in extra coverage for terrorism attacks. Assuming is dangerous, but rates haven’t decreased, so it’s safe to say that most MLB parks cost high six figures to insure and probably into the seven figures. Could be way more, I don’t have the research to say with certainty.

Further, even though their is a dearth of actual incidents in stadium, teams know (especially with less popular teams) that a ‘incident’ – and the surrounding coverage -  could decimate their gate. They don’t want their team (or league) to be the ones that have to deal with the fallout from a violent incident.

So Busch Stadium in a few weeks will have metal detectors at some of the gates. By 2015, they’ll have them at all of the gates. And you’ll be spending significantly more time waiting in line to get into the stadium than you do now. It’s the new reality of going to sporting events.

Will it prevent anything?

Maybe. Maybe not. It’s impossible to forecast the unknown with quantifiable data.

We’re in the midst of a huge overcorrection to a problem that may or may not even be a problem in the first place. The history of violence in stadiums has been minimal since professional sports teams have existed. The list linked above didn’t have an event listed from a professional American team since 2009 – and that was a cup thrown at Shane Victorino.

The NFL – aka the most popular sports league in America – has been facing declines in attendance, but with rising TV revenue, the money lost is almost incidental. Baseball is different. The owners need the gates for their payroll. And if cumbersome security measures are going to be cited for deteriorating attendance, they’ll figure out a way to pull back on the reins.

For now, though, the metal detectors are coming.

Photo: CBS New York

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