TWINS set new security rules to combat unruly fans

Thursday, May 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ When Minnesota Twins fans return to the Metrodome on Friday, they won't be able to buy beer in the general-admission seats and there will be a substantial increase in security.

A printed code of conduct also will be given to fans entering gates near the left-field stands, spelling out what is unacceptable behavior, including throwing objects.

The new measures are to combat unruly fans. Last week, 60 were ejected for throwing objects at ex-Twin Chuck Knoblauch, who was playing left field for the New York Yankees.

No one was arrested, but the Twins nearly forfeited the game. The team returns home Friday to play seven games against the Kansas City Royals and the Boston Red Sox.

Also Friday, a security official with Major League Baseball will meet with Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson, Sgt. Bill Whisney of the downtown command and Twins Vice President Matt Hoy.

``The essential ingredient for us in every major-league city in terms of our crowd-management program is our relationship with the police,'' said Kevin Hallinan, MLB senior vice president for security and facility management. ''... We believe, and the Twins do as well, that the police can probably play a more meaningful role.''

Minneapolis off-duty police have not worked Twins games since 1992, when a dispute with the team developed. Since then, the Twins have used off-duty corrections officers for security.

Hoy expressed ``absolute confidence'' in the security staff and said the number of guards will double.

Vendors will no longer sell beer in upper- and lower-level general-admission seats or in reserved seats between the Twins bullpen and left field. Fans there will have to buy beer at concession stands. Otherwise, beer sales, which are currently cut off at 7 1/2 innings, won't change for now, he said.

The Twins also are upgrading their camera system to make it easier to identify unruly fans.

``We are certainly going to eject anyone that displays any behavior that is not acceptable, and whenever possible we are going to prosecute them to the full extent of the law,'' Hoy said.

Some former officers think it would help to have police inside the Dome.

``Police are going to get a lot more respect than somebody in a security uniform,'' said Bob Goedderz, a retired sergeant who supervises 11 off-duty officers at the Target Center for Timberwolves games.

``Nobody ever threw anything at any games we worked,'' said retired Sgt. John Locke, former Dome special-events coordinator.

Olson said he's prepared to collaborate with baseball officials, but he said using off-duty officers is a decision of the ballpark, not police.

``I don't think that hiring off-duty cops is a silver bullet to solve all your problems. Good crowd management is probably more important,'' he said.