Hallinan suggests minor changes in Wrigley security

Tuesday, May 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) -- Seat-hoppers and inebriated fans, beware. The Chicago Cubs are keeping an eye out for you.

The Cubs will increase security in the aisles around the visitors bullpen and be more aggressive in checking tickets to make sure fans don't sneak down near the field, Kevin Hallinan, head of security for major league baseball, said Tuesday.

The Cubs also have limited beer sales and will monitor that to make sure the policy is working.

"The Cubs are doing a good job. They're making the right moves and like everything else, it doesn't happen overnight," Hallinan
said. "I'm not here to change anything. I'm here to work with my partners and find out how to make it better for the fans."

On Tuesday, the first night game at Wrigley since the May 16 brawl between the Los Angeles Dodgers and fans, there were security
personnel sitting in the five aisles closest to the visitors bullpen. All five sat facing the crowd, and they got up to check tickets as fans arrived.

Hallinan is at Wrigley for Chicago's three-game series against the Atlanta Braves to monitor crowd-control measures implemented
after the brawl. And his visit just happens to coincide with John Rocker's first trip to Wrigley this season.

Hallinan and members of the Cubs' security staff sat immediately behind Atlanta's bullpen, which is separated from fans by a chest-high brick wall and was the flashpoint for the Dodgers brawl.

While things were pleasant for most of the game, one fan came down the aisle and screamed obscenities at Rocker. The Braves
closer has been a traveling controversy since he made offensive comments about minorities, gays and immigrants in a Sports
Illustrated article.

"We are concerned about the aisles," Hallinan admitted.

"We're going to give increased attention to the aisles and also the ticket discipline. There were people sitting down there who didn't deserve to be there."

Hallinan also said he saw some vendors selling beer in the bottom of the eighth inning Monday. Though he initially expressed
concern about that, he said Tuesday he hadn't been clear on the Cubs' new beer policy.

According to limits put in place after the brawl, seat vendors can't leave the commissaries after the start of the seventh inning for day games and the bottom of the sixth for night games.

Beginning with the first pitch of the fifth inning, seat vendors are restricted to single loads.

Vendors were already prohibited from selling beer in the bleachers after fans tossed garbage on the field during a night game last year. Fans throughout the ballpark are limited to buying two beers at a time.

"This is an evolving law. It's not federal law," Hallinan said. "It's going to take awhile, I'm sure, to get to where we want it."

Hallinan said he understands fans wanting to get close to the bullpens. He remembers the thrill of sneaking from the upper decks to the field at Yankee Stadium or the Polo Grounds when he was a boy.

And many players like the interaction they have with the Wrigley fans. Mere inches -- and a chest-high concrete wall -- separate the fans from the bullpens at Wrigley, and fans often talk to players and ask them to sign autographs during the game.

But some fans get out of hand, like the drunken one who allegedly hit Dodgers catcher Chad Kreuter in the back of the head
and took his hat. Kreuter chased the fan into the stand and numerous Dodgers followed.

Nineteen members of the Dodgers were suspended, and one of the fans has filed suit against both the Dodgers and the Cubs, saying
he was injured in the fracas.

"We've got to take care of our fans and not allow a few to ruin it for the rest of us," Hallinan said.

"We don't want to make this a security zone," he added. "It's like a cathedral. It's a very, very special place with very special fans. We want to keep the fun in this thing.