Ballpark personnel will screen every person entering PNC Park with a metal-detecting wand as part of new security measures that will take effect with the game tonight against the San Francisco Giants.
According to a news release, all other gate policies and procedures remain the same. Guests are still allowed to bring one bag each into the ballpark, so long as it's 16x16x8 inches or smaller, as well as soft-sided coolers and briefcases.
Food and water also are still allowed in the park, as long as they fit inside a soft-sided bag.
The Pirates are asking for fans to leave all unnecessary metal objects at home to speed up the process, but the new security measure will still slow the lines regardless.
"It wasn't a result of any threat or anything like that," said Brian Warecki, the Pirates senior director of communications. "In the wake of the bombings in Boston, we said publicly and privately that we were going to take a look at all of our security measures and make sure we were doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our guests. That's our number one priority. I think our fans will trade a little bit of convenience for safety."
The Pirates hardly are the first team to increase security as stadiums across the country have been implementing new procedures in wake of the bombings April 15 at the Boston Marathon that killed three and injured 280. The club isn't the first pro sports team in the city to increase their security. Security personnel at Steelers games started using wands last year. The previous time the Pirates used wands on their fans was before the All-Star Game in 2006.
Trying to be conscious of time, the Pirates decided to implement the new policies tonight, as opposed to a weekend game that likely would attract more fans to the park, even though this game will mark the debut of top prospect Gerrit Cole. The Pirates are not expecting too much of a delay, but team official are encouraging fans to arrive earlier than usual.
"We don't know how long it's going to take," Warecki said. "It seems to be something that our fans, guests and society is really accustomed to at this point. It's a matter of working out the kinks a little bit."
Everett Cook: email@example.com and Twitter @everettcook.