CHICAGO -- With the Paris terror attacks in mind, the Chicago Cubs are stepping up security measures heading into the 2016 season.
For the first time, fans will have to go through metal detectors to enter the park, and the team is trying to close several streets around the Wrigley Field on game days to create a “safe perimeter.”
“The thing that used to keep me awake was the concrete and steel (falling) in our ballpark, which we’re fixing,” president of business operations Crane Kenney said Saturday at the Cubs fan convention. “The thing that keeps me awake now is thinking about the crazy times we live in.”
Wrigley Field is located in a neighborhood with little room between the ballpark and street where cars drive by. The Cubs would like to allow for only “essential” vehicles to be moving next to the park.
“We’re asking (the city) for 100 feet control in each direction of the ballpark,” Kenney said. “We would love to know who is driving what and what they’re doing while the ballgame is going on.”
As for metal detectors, the Cubs say it will take more time to enter the ballpark but that it’s worth the increased safety they bring.
“The only downside is people will need to allow themselves a little more time,” Kenney said. “We’re asking our fans to plan their day accordingly.
“One of the downsides of a 100-year (old) facility is it wasn’t intended for 40,000 to come in and out."
The Cubs will also extend netting within the ballpark to protect fans from foul balls. They’ll stretch it from behind home plate to the beginnings of both the home and visitor dugouts.
“Protection level needs to be 70 feet,” Kenney explained. “The height of the nets will be dictated by where your seat is. It’s all physics.”