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The NFL on Thursday introduced a new policy that limits the size and type of bags that can be brought into stadiums. The NFL Committee on Stadium Security in May unanimously recommended the implementation of the measure which looks to enhance public safety and make it easier for fans to gain access in all stadiums. Fans can bring bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12", one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags and small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap. An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection (NFL). In Phoenix, Megan Finnerty notes blankets, which "don’t fall under the NFL’s bag policy, are still permitted, but seat cushions are not." Cardinals VP/Media Relations Mark Dalton said that the league had been "discussing restrictions, but the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15 pushed the issue to the fore." Cardinals VP/Stadium Operations John Drum said, "Not to say that it is a direct result of Boston, but the various bags that come into the stadium and the various items that could come into the stadium that we don’t want there. ... The less people bring in to the stadium, the less we have to deal with and worry about" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/14). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio noted this is a "pretty significant change for folks who go to games and like to bring stuff." But the move is "primarily about security … even though it's going to make some fans upset." Florio: "This is something the NFL feels strongly about" ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 6/13).
CHECKPOINT CHARLIE: The AP's Barry Wilner noted a secondary buffer area "well outside the stadium will be established where security personnel will check for prohibited items or bags being carried toward the ballpark." Stadium personnel are being "encouraged to have approved bags on hand to give to fans, or to have a place outside the restricted areas to check items, so that fans can reclaim after games." The NFL recently has done "pat downs and bag checks and also used metal detectors to upgrade security." The new policy has "worked well at colleges such as Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, which do not permit any bags in their stadiums" (AP, 6/13). In Pittsburgh, Ed Bouchette notes because Univ. of Pittsburgh home games also are played at Heinz Field, the "same restrictions will be in place for those games" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/14).
WOMEN'S ISSUES: Chiefs President Mark Donovan said, "The most important thing is we develop a system that creates a safe environment for everyone, but also takes into account the realities, and that’s one of the reasons for the clutch purse. Most of the things (women will have) will be able to fit into the size of purse we’re going to allow. That was a consideration that was talked about at the league level, and it’s something we tried to accommodate by allowing the clutch" (K.C. STAR, 6/14). But in Indianapolis, Erika Smith asks, "What woman in her right mind ... is going to load up her smartphone, lipstick, money, credit cards, keys, not to mention tampons, in a clear plastic bag for all the world to see? Not many, I predict." The NFL has made "great strides in recent years in attracting women" but suggesting a Ziploc bag is "not one of the league’s better ideas" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/14).
MLB officials have indicated that the two-game Dodgers-D'Backs series in Australia that will open the regular season next March "won't be a one-off if Sydney embraces" the games, according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. MLB VP/Int'l Events Jim Pearce is "hopeful of a return trip if Sydney gets behind the fixtures on March 22 and 23." Pearce: "Coming back is our long-term strategy. We want to keep building on our successes. There's every opportunity that this could lead to more games here." Moore Sports Dir Jason Moore, who helped bring the games to Sydney, said that MLB's schedule commitments "meant a return to Australia could not happen until 2018 at the earliest" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/14). MLB.com's Paul Hagen reported the D'Backs "will be considered the home team for both games." The teams will "arrive in Sydney on the morning of March 18." The series is the "latest example of cooperation between baseball and its union" (MLB.com, 6/12).
PART OF SELIG'S LEGACY: MLB.com's Richard Justice wrote the games in Australia feel like an "appropriate next step in growing the sport," and this is something MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "envisioned years ago when he began drawing up a blueprint" for the league. Justice: "Baseball is already being played and watched around the globe, so why not show it off at its highest level?" MLB has done a "terrific job making the game available around the world that it's simply a matter of finding a suitable venue for Major League games" (MLB.com, 6/13).