Boston Marathon Bombings: Sports Venues Ramp Up Security In Wake Of Event
Effects from the bombings yesterday at the Boston Marathon “could be seen quickly" at other sporting events Monday night, including "bomb-sniffing dogs sweeping the arena before the doors opened for an NHL game in Nashville between the Predators and Canucks" and armed police officers "in front of each dugout at the Padres-Dodgers baseball game in Los Angeles,” according to Howard Fendrich of the AP. A police officer with a German shepherd “patrolled near an entrance” at Marlins Park for the Nationals-Marlins game. Two Marlins officials inside on the field “gave a security supervisor a briefing about the ballpark's layout” (AP, 4/16). Baltimore police said that fans at tonight's Rays-Orioles game at Camden Yards “might see tactical officers deployed outside the stadium as they step up cautionary patrols.” The Maryland Stadium Authority also said that there “would be enhanced security” (Baltimore SUN, 4/16). In L.A., Mike DiGiovanna reports the Twins “did not beef up security” for last night's game at Target Field against the Angels. But the team in a statement reiterated its normal measures include "sweeps with bomb-sniffing dogs every homestand, inspection of garbage cans before each game and ongoing contact with Department of Homeland Security officials regarding potential threats” (L.A. TIMES, 4/16). In N.Y., Stefan Bondy reports Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark before the team’s game against the Wizards “sent out a statement reiterating his faith in the safety and security of the $1 billion arena, which opened almost six months ago” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/16).
TAKING PRECAUTIONS IN L.A.: L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck yesterday said that his department “will increase officer deployments at sporting events" in response to the Boston bombings. He said that beginning with the Padres-Dodgers game last night, the “additional police presence would include deployment of bomb-squad personnel, dogs and other ‘precautions geared to preventing a similar event.’” Beck said, "We will be increasing deployment at all scheduled sporting events in the near future. I’ve already been in contact with the Dodgers about this" (LATIMES.com, 4/15). ESPN's Pedro Gomez noted there was an LAPD helicopter “flying over Dodger Stadium” last night and there were police officers "at every entrance gate." Gomez: “I was here for a Wednesday night game just two weeks ago. There were no LAPD officers at the entrance gates. The fact that they’re here at every gate indicates to you that there is a difference” (ESPN2, 4/15). In L.A., Andrew Blankstein noted the LAPD had “planned to increase the number of officers at the game anyway, expecting it would draw more people after a brawl last week in San Diego left Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke injured.” Meanwhile, this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach also is “stepping up security.” The event each year “draws more than 170,000 spectators for three days of racing Friday through Sunday” (LATIMES.com, 4/15). L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca said his department was on "heightened alert." He added that his staff had “increased patrols at government buildings, shopping centers, athletic events, and public transit centers” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/16).
NFL LOOKING TO INCREASE DRAFT SECURITY: ESPN's Adam Schefter notes the NFL Draft will take place next Thursday at Radio City Music Hall in N.Y., and the league will "enter into discussions to see if there's any way that it should heighten awareness ... and take extra measures" regarding the security presence at the event. Events like yesterday's Boston bombings are a reason the NFL "has a heightened state of alert at big events, all its games, the Super Bowl." Schefter: "You're going to see every team talk about what it can do, every league talk about are there any measures that it can take to improve the chances of people being safe in light of what happened yesterday in Boston” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/16).
GETTING A GAME PLAN: Kansas Speedway Senior PR Manager Kelly Hale said that the track, which hosts NASCAR races this weekend, had been “meeting with its local police department to review its security and safety policies.” USA TODAY notes Hale’s comments come in “the wake of a fan death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.” Kansas Speedway's meeting with authorities “began shortly before news broke of the Boston tragedy, and Hale said it was too early to determine how it might affect procedures this weekend.” Speedway President Pat Warren said, "We evaluate the security before and after every event ... We're very confident in the steps we've taken, and we have a really good relationship with state and local authorities in the Kansas City police department and the highway patrol. Both of those agencies interface on anything we're doing on property and help staff and operate our command center" (USA TODAY, 4/16).
OTHER BIG EVENTS ON NOTICE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway COO Doug Boles said that yesterday's attack “will be a part of future meetings to review what precautions should be taken" for the Indianapolis 500. Boles: "I guess this will bring a new topic or dialogue to those discussions, to see if there's anything more we need to do to prepare with respect to what's happened in Boston. And we will learn more about that over the next couple of days, as the folks in Boston do, and we will be prepared for that." The AP's Fendrich noted at the Kentucky Derby, which “pulls in crowds approaching 250,000 each year at Churchill Downs Racetrack, security was beefed up recently following the death of Osama bin Laden.” '16 Rio Games organizers said that they “consider security a top priority and are working closely with the local government on safety issues” (AP, 4/15).
WAS IT ONLY A MATTER OF TIME? CBS Sports Network’s Bruce Feldman said he was "kind of surprised we have not seen more tragic events at sporting events in our country because there are so many people there.” Feldman noted there is added risk because “the level of screening you have just to get on an airplane, it’s not like that to get into a sporting event” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 4/15). ABC's Dan Harris asked, “Will the Boston bombings bring major permanent crackdowns and security measures? Super Bowl-sized protection for every sporting event in the country?" ("GMA," ABC, 4/16). In Orlando, Mike Bianchi asks, "Remember the old movie 'Black Sunday' about the terrorist plot at the Super Bowl? Well, this time it was real and the plot wasn't foiled" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/16).