MLB, Bucs unveil All-Star security effort
Road closings, counterfeiting among major issues stressed
PITTSBURGH -- Kevin Hallinan, Major League Baseball's vice president of security, said fans coming to PNC Park for next month's Midsummer Classic will face a "very similar to normal baseball experience" with the exception of "magnometers" at the gates.
That's how confident he is in the July 11 game going off without a hitch. But as he knows, the security measures taken in leading up to that day far transcend those metal detectors.
On Wednesday, Major League Baseball and the Pirates unveiled the largest joint security effort the All-Star Game has ever seen. A record 54 law enforcement and support agencies -- including 50 Coast Guard members patrolling the Allegheny River -- will assemble in the Steel City to enforce road closings, counterfeiting and "safety zones" among a score of procedures in place.
"I've never seen this type of cooperation or this type of endeavor before," said Pittsburgh police chief Dominic Costa.
The big things fans need to be aware of is a series of weeklong road closures. From July 5-12, streets directly parallel to the park -- Mazeroski Way from General Robinson Street and North Shore Drive to Mazeroski Way -- will be closed. And as the week progresses, more roads will follow.
In effect from July 7-12, General Robinson Street to Sandusky Street, Federal Street to Fort Duquense Boulevard (including the Clemente Bridge), Isabella Street to Federal Street and Art Rooney Avenue to Reedsdale Street will all be blocked off to non-screened worker vehicles.
And downtown, during the same timeframe, the Tenth Street Bypass from Fort Pitt Bridge to Eleventh Street, Eleventh Street to Fort Duquense Boulevard will also be closed. Also, each day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, French Way and Garrison Place will be closed, except for local business traffic.
On All-Star Tuesday, July 11, Sixth Street (between Penn Avenue and Fort Duquense Boulevard) and Fort Duquense Boulevard (between Seventh Street and Stanwix Street) will be off limits between noon and 5 p.m.
Finally, there will also be "safety zones" around the Convention Center, in which limited traffic will be permitted inside, effective from July 7-11. Only access to parking garages and delivery vehicles will be allowed inside the boundary that stretches from Ninth Street to Eleventh Street, and from the Allegheny River to Penn Avenue. And any car entering the zone "can and will be searched," Pittsburgh police lieutenant Scott Schubert said.
With added traffic and less space, the message is simple: "Get to the park early and enjoy the city," Hallinan said.
Making life a bit easier on fans, Pittsburgh's Port Authority has also greatly expanded its bus and rail services from all directions.
And, of course, there is the river that must be dealt with. A series of regulations will be enforced throughout the week, most notably during the Home Run Derby on Monday night, when the river will likely be crammed with boating traffic. The Allegheny will be divided into thirds, with non-motor boats occupying the area closet to the park, small motor boats in the middle and large motor boats in the back. All boats must be in motion at all times.
On the streets, undercover law enforcement personnel will also be cracking down on illegal ticket sales and counterfeiting -- both with tickets and merchandise. There will be a ticket re-selling area between PNC Park and Heinz Field for fans to sell their extras, but no scalping will be permitted in the park's vicinity.
Officials advise fans to look for a holographic foil and printed watermark patterns on their All-Star tickets, as well as an official Major League Baseball merchandise logo on their All-Star garb.
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.