It’s a well known fact among my friends that, as soulless as the new Yankee Stadium is, I prefer it to the dump of a “ballpark” known as
Ebbets Field II Citi Field. Yankee Stadium is better in a lot of ways, whether it be the design of the outfield fences (so ridiculous at Citi that they actually had to bring them in, and it still hasn’t helped the team very much) or the fact that Yankee Stadium actually honors the history of the Yankees, while Citi Field mentioned almost nothing about the Mets (until the Mets Museum was opened up). I am a Yankees fan, so I am a bit biased, but I’m pretty sure I would be saying the same things even if I weren’t. The Mets have been a joke of a team ever since Citi Field opened in 2009, a perfect fit for their stadium (although things may finally be looking up for them starting next year, but that’s another story for another time).
One of the things that is overlooked is the actual entering of the ballpark. Until the past homestand, all you had to do at Yankee Stadium was remove your hat, open your bag, and present the bag to the attendant standing at the gate so he or she could poke around in it a little. Some attendants also wanted fans to display the home screens of their phones. But after maybe about five seconds, you were through security and could scan your ticket to gain entry. Quick, easy, and mostly hassle-free. At Citi Field, not only did you have to do all of this, but security would also wave a metal-detecting wand around your body, forcing you to awkwardly hold all of your personal effects while the Mets implemented their own style of airport security and keeping you outside of the ballpark for longer. I once waited outside of a Citi Field entrance for at least 15 minutes before I was able to get to the front of the line (and in doing so missed the entire first inning), while I’ve never had to wait that long at Yankee Stadium, even right before first pitch.
This Tuesday, however, everything changes. Acting early on a 2015 MLB mandate, the Yankees are installing actual metal detectors at entrances to the ballpark. Those who refuse to walk through the airport-style gate will be subjected to the magic wand. (Of course, the Yankees claim to be doing this early, but the Mets have been doing this for at least a couple of years. It almost makes it seem that the Yankees were trying to hold out until the very last second to install these things.) Fans will now have to stand on line for longer periods of time–those who like to enjoy such pre-game festivities as batting practice or eating at NYY Steak will now have less time to partake in these activities before the game starts and will either have to arrive at the ballpark earlier than they are accustomed to or budget less time to these activities if they want to make first pitch.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it has been far too easy to sneak things into Yankee Stadium for the longest time now, especially during the colder months. People could sneak
alcohol water bottles, food, and even guns in under their jackets in early April or late September/postseason baseball, or under cargo shorts during the summer months. Certainly having someone sneak a gun in under security’s noses with rather lax security policies in place would be unpalatable to the Yankees or the rest of baseball. In this way, the move is understandable.
But the very fact that we are even thinking about this possibility underscores how paranoid society is of other people. For the five years Yankee Stadium has been open, not once has there been a gun reported inside that did not belong to a police officer, as far as I know. Sure, there have been shootings outside the Stadium, but no idiot has dared to bring a gun inside and wave it around. No respectable fan will bring in anything for the sole purpose of inuring another fan. But because of the actions of a few depraved individuals over the past 14 years, everyone has become suspect. Safety is important, but the mandated installation of metal detectors gives off the feeling that no one trusts anyone anymore, and that we are all being watched–whether by Stadium security, the US government, or Google–to make sure that we all behave like
children good citizens.
The entire movement to install metal detectors league-wide by next year also stinks of copying the NFL’s new security policies, which restrict the kinds of bags that can be brought to football stadiums to clear ones under a certain size–bags that the NFL conveniently sell themselves. Not that I would have attended an NFL game anyway–the Giants play in New Jersey, not New York City; tickets to those games are expensive; and the NFL’s must-sellout-or-TV-blackout policy is barbaric–but this policy has virtually guaranteed that I will not patronize the NFL for the foreseeable future. My hope is that MLB do not go this far, or i may have to consider dropping my attendance there as well.
Some people may think that I’m grasping at straws here, and I’ll be the first to admit that the metal detectors shouldn’t seriously impact my ability to enjoy the game. But it’s clear that fear–fear that something could happen even if the chance of such happenings are miniscule, fear that all it takes is one depraved individual even if that individual is one out of several billion, fear of our fellow man no matter how innocent–is the order of the modern world, and that’s not going to change any time soon.