Walk-through metal detectors are coming to Target Field in time for the home opener, making the Minnesota Twins the first among the Twin Cities’ major sports franchises to take such a heightened security precaution.
The additional security measure is being mandated for all teams by Major League Baseball, with the 30 stadiums required to be in compliance by 2015, the Twins said in announcing the upgrade.
The Target Field walk-through devices will be phased in starting with the first home game on April 7. All five gates will have them by early May.
“We’ll be taking a phased approach as we want to ensure these new procedures are efficient and provide no inconvenience to our loyal fans,” said Dave Horsman, senior director of ballpark operations for the Twins.
Twins spokesman Chris Iles said fans can be assured that what they will encounter at Target Field will be nothing like what travelers experience at airports.
“This is not the TSA,” he said. “It’s a lot less invasive than that. You won’t have to take off your shoes or belts or anything.”
Iles added that anyone who declines to walk through the metal detector can opt to have a detection wand passed over them.
Fans will be required to remove cellphones and other large metal items before passing through, the team said. Fans’ bags and purses will continue to be inspected at the gates.
During a demonstration of the detectors for the news media Tuesday at Target Field, Horsman said the devices will be calibrated so that items such as keys, watches, belt buckles, eyeglasses and coins will not set off a response.
Eventually, entrances for employees, the news media and others will also have the same level of security, Iles added.
The Twins are getting well ahead of Major League Baseball’s 2015 deadline because metal detectors will need to be in place in time for the All-Star Game in July, Iles said.
Iles said there have been no significant security incidents at Target Field since it opened in 2010.
There currently are no walk-through metal detectors at the home venues for the Minnesota Vikings, Wild or Timberwolves or for University of Minnesota athletic events.
Vikings fans are screened with hand-held metal detectors, and there are restrictions that took effect starting with the 2013 preseason on the size and type of bags that can be brought into games. The Wild and Timberwolves also use metal-detection wands, while the U does not.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482