MLB’s Absurd Security Theater and the Dodgers’ Parking Ripoff

With the new baseball season about to get underway, there are a couple of major changes looming, one affecting fans throughout the major leagues, and another just for Los Angeles Dodgers’ fans.

It may have been on your minds for a year now or you may have forgotten all about it, or maybe you never ever heard about it, but last year Major League Baseball began experimenting with metal detectors at various games, and “suggested” to the 30 teams that having them at their stadiums would be a good idea. Well, that suggestion became an

order, and for the new season and into the future, EVERY MLB stadium is required to have fans pass through a metal detection device, upon entry. The device can either be a walk-through airport type structure or a hand held wand that a uniformed mercenary will wave across your body, from foot to face. Fans will
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be lining up to empty their pockets and pass inspection before entry is allowed.

This is pure “Security Theater”, a term coined in 2003 by Harvard Professor and security expert Bruce Schneier, who understands that such rituals are pure and simple cover-your-ass crap to 1) make people think they are safe, and 2) insulate businesses from any hint of liability for not having done everything humanly possible to safeguard their customers. In reality, there is absolutely positively no evidence that such procedures make sports fans “safer”. When specifically asked about the baseball plan, Schneier answered that it was a waste of money that would be better spent donating the money to the local police to pay for increased investigative capabilities.

The worst criminal incident in the history of major league baseball in Los Angeles was when Giants’ fan Bryan Stow was critically injured at Dodgers’ Stadium in April of 2011. That incident occurred outside the stadium in the parking lot and the weapon was a fist. This occurred a little more than 20 years after a Pittsburgh Steeler’s fan was critically injured at an LA Raiders game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. While this assault did happen inside the stadium, again the weapon was the human fist.

The 2015 Major League Baseball Season opens Sunday, April 5, with the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Cubs in Chicago. The Dodgers open their season the next day, with a game at Dodgers' Stadium against former Dodgers' star Matt Kemp and the San Diego Padres. The Angels open against division rival Seattle Mariners in Seattle also on Monday, April 6, and they have their home opener against the defending American League champion Kansas City Royals on Friday, April 10. Tickets to all these games and to every other home opener are available Right Here, Right Now, from Razorgator.

The only instance of a shooting on ballpark grounds that I have been able to find occurred in 2009 at Angels’ Stadium in Anaheim, and that was the case of a police officer over-reacting to some sort of incident between two fans in the parking lot, his taking out his weapon, and shooting the two fans. One of the fans received only superficial wounds, but the other man, a US Marine based at Southern California’s Camp Pendleton, was paralyzed and ultimately died as a result of the shooting injuries.

The two worst incidents of violence inside any US sports stadiums (other than attacks only between players and not involving fans) were both perpetrated by players. In baseball, the sports’ worst incident of violence inside a stadium occurred in 2004 when relief pitcher Frank Francisco, then toiling for the Texas Rangers, threw a chain into the seats at a fan., striking another fan in the face. But the worst incidence of violence in any US sport occurred a few months later in the NBA at Detroit’s Palace of Auburn Hills when psycho lunatic ron artest, then playing for the Indiana Pacers, in the midst of a player’s brawl on the court, ran into the stands and attacked several fans, one of whom suffered numerous cuts and fractures. Other players entered the fray, also fighting with fans in the stands.

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So, those metal detectors would really have a great effect on real ballpark safety issues, giving MLB's new gestapo troops all the warning they need to start confiscating fists and chairs. They would not, however, be taking guns away from cops.

Then, there is this thing at Dodgers' Stadium. When Guggenheim Baseball Management "saved" the Dodgers from the dastardly deeds of former owner Frank McCourt, one of the first public
relations acts of the new guys was to make a splashy announcement that the $15.00 per vehicle parking cost would be rolled back to $10.00. Well, very quietly a year or so later, that fee was returned to the $15.00 level. Now, as the 2015 season is set to begin, fans will be faced with a new increase, bringing the parking rate up to $20.00. But hey, do you really want to walk all that way from the far reaches of the massive Dodgers’ Stadium parking lot to your seats? Of course not! Well, the Dodgers’ also now have “Preferred” parking, and you can pull up a whole lot closer to the entrance, and the metal detectors, for a preferred parking rate that ranges from $35.00 to $50.00. Yep, $50.00 to park your car at a baseball park.

Well, the Dodgers really do need that money, you know. I mean, that deal with Time Warner Cable to keep Dodgers’ broadcasts off the tv screens of 70% of the Dodgers’ viewing audience only pays the team $8 Billion. And they have kept ticket prices extremely low (chuckle here). Why the top ticket price is only a little more than $1,000.00. And those pretty good first and second level seats that used to go for $12.00 – $20.00 not so long ago and $35.00 to $75.00 after than are now only a little over $100, for some games.

But $20.00 as the minimum charge to park your car? Really?

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