Pirates End New Security Measure Early Last Night After Long Lines Frustrate Fans
The Pirates' new security measure announced Monday that "would have required all fans entering PNC Park to be searched by metal-detecting wands was abandoned" minutes after last night's game against the Giants was scheduled to begin due to the long lines it created, according to a front-page piece by Alex Zimmerman of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. As the line to the home plate entrance "snaked all the way to the right field gate, expletive-laden murmurs began emerging from the increasingly restless crowd." The line in front of the entrance by 7:00pm ET "devolved into a mosh-pit of rankled fans who expressed frustration with the new procedure." Hundreds of people by about 7:15 "were still waiting in line and security personnel were instructed to stop using the metal detecting wands." The "lines evaporated" within minutes. Pirates President Frank Coonelly in a statement said, "I apologize to our fans who experienced long lines at the gates prior to tonight's game. ... The experience was simply unacceptable and we will ensure this does not happen again." Pirates Senior Communications Dir Brian Warecki said that the organization "chose to deploy the new security measure on a mid-June weeknight game, when crowds typically hover around 20,000, instead of the 40,000 numbers that the team hopes for on weekends." He added, "We don't expect it to run perfectly smoothly out of the gate." The official attendance number "was 30,614 in part because Gerrit Cole, a top prospect, made his debut." This security change "isn't the first of the year at PNC Park." Warecki said that the amount of security personnel, surveillance cameras and training "have all increased" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/12). In Pittsburgh, Karen Price in a front-page piece reports fans who "still were lined up on West General Robinson Street at 7:15 p.m. weren't shy in expressing their anger and frustration, calling the lines ridiculous." Some said that they "wanted their money back" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 6/12).