ST. LOUIS • Baseball fans and the Busch Stadium security team are still adjusting to new rules for what can be carried into the ballpark.
After long lines delayed entry for many fans before Tuesday night’s game, the Cardinals tweaked the inspection process.
On Thursday, more staffers and lines were available to screen fans’ belongings, and separate express lines had been added for fans without purses or bags.
Still, some fans were unaware of new security rules for what they can bring to the game. Small purses, diaper bags and fanny packs, plus clear plastic, sealed water bottles, are among the items listed as permitted on the Cardinals’ website. Backpacks are not.
Sandy Frederick and Betty Petrie drove from Indianapolis to watch the Cardinals play the Cubs on Thursday afternoon, only to be turned away because they tried to bring a backpack and a refillable water bottle into the ballpark.
Frederick, 23, and Petrie, 28, were visibly upset as they stood near one of the stadium entrances making a phone call to Frederick’s parents, who were already inside. They would have to walk blocks to get back to their vehicle, if they didn’t find a place to store the backpack.
“We are going to miss the beginning of the game,” said Petrie, while Frederick made arrangements to meet her parents and get the car keys.
Petrie, 28, didn’t understand the procedure because she was going to be allowed to carry in her drawstring bag but not her empty purple water bottle.
Ron Watermon, vice president of communications for the Cardinals, apologized for the security check backups as the season opened this week.
“We acknowledge that fans were frustrated and disappointed with the lines, and for that, we are sorry. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our fans as we adjust to more rigorous security screening as mandated by MLB.”
He encouraged fans to arrive early.
Carrie Pruett, of St. Louis, who works for Fox Sports Midwest Live, was selling drinks under a tent outside the stadium Thursday. She said people were turning to her for help with prohibited items.
“I had three people who asked me if they could leave their backpacks,” she said. She had to turn them away because she didn’t want to be responsible for their items if she had to leave before they returned.
A couple from Peoria, Ill., stood outside the stadium pulling belongings from a backpack. Asked what he was going to do with the backpack, the man said, “throw it away.”
“He should have checked online,” the woman said. “Guys don’t carry purses.”