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Wednesday Wakeup Call: How safe do you feel?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, lunatics …

>> The Wednesday column hopes that Boston proves lesson-worthy for stadium/arena security everywhere. My thanks to officials with the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates for their prompt and professional help yesterday.

And this is where you come in.

I share a couple of my experiences up there, and I want to hear yours. Doesn’t have to be at Heinz Field, Consol Energy Center or PNC Park. Can be anywhere, any city, any sporting event that draws a crowd.

I’ll thank you in advance, as I very much consider this to be an actual part of the Wednesday column. (And yeah, your cut of the check’s in the mail.)

>> And then there’s the matter of our own upcoming marathon, as Karen Price reports.

>> The Penguins are playing another outdoor game? Their third?

This reminds me of how the comic book industry, every time it goes into a sales slump, begins adding a bunch of Batman titles. Because Batman always sells. Does wonders in the short term, nothing at all in the long.

Hey how about a game at Buckeye Stadium in Columbus, where they could use it?

>> One versus eight … the dream lives.

>> James McDonald insists he’s healthy. That might be even more worrisome for the Pirates.

>> The Steelers’ complete schedule will be announced tomorrow, but Ben Roethlisberger told teammates at voluntary workouts yesterday that the 2013 season starts right now.

>> Alan Robinson’s NFL draft series opens with running backs.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio today at 1:30 p.m. And here’s the podcast of yesterday’s full show.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.


  1. Guess I’ll give it a shot at being first today!

  2. DK made some very valid points in the column today, definitely worth reading. However, I will say that (at least in my experience) the security may be bigger than we see. For instance, I’ve had the chance to work as a sort of liaison between ESPN (and CBS) and Mizzou at Faurot Field on football game days. I’ve been at the stadium at 4:30, 5 am and I’ve seen a policeman with a bomb dog, every time, going through the stadium at least four hours before kickoff. That’s before most press arrives. Not saying what DK said isn’t valid, because it certainly is, but we may be safer than we first think.

    • As compared to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Israel, Egypt, anywhere in Africa, even London and Madrid, we do pretty well. Better places? Australia… Right now would you rather be in Seoul or Boston? Can we be safer? Yeah. Will it get worse? probably. But we still live in the greatest nation in the history of planet earth!

  3. “Those who would sacrifice essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin

    • Great quote.

    • In Ben’s day, did anyone tie a bomb around their waist and blow themselves up while trying to kill others?

      • No but there were uprisings and threats to the standing government which were extremely common during his time. America is only great if it can keep from becoming an authoritarian police state. One of the ways a police state develops is by good people advocating for random police searches and seizures of individuals who have never been suspected of committing a crime, in the name of safety. While I am as disturbed by this act of violence as anyone, post 9-11 security measures are not where the discussion should start.

      • In Ben’s day, men acted on their beliefs without regard for the safety of themselves or their families.

      • Ladies and Gentlemen, here is a shining example of the inadequacies of American public education–the inability to think critically.

        • Why think critically when the “answers” are constantly being fed to us by our betters? When we refuse to think for ourselves, we give others Carte Blanche to think for us. When that happens, no one has the right to complain.

          • Exceptionally well stated. And with liberty comes individual responsibility, the internalization of knowledge that you are accountable for your actions that may infringe on the rights of your fellow citizens by commission, omission, or negligence.

            I agree with Dejan that our sporting events are in fact, soft targets, and I do not advocate that we completely disregard security measures at these events. To do so would be imprudent. Nor will I advocate for further unconstitutional infringements of our individual liberties. America at its base is an IDEA, the idea that men and women are free by right. The Constitution and Bill of Rights assume that we are inherently good. With that assumption comes risk, and that risk makes the IDEA the most successful experiment in human history. No amount of security measures can prevent an individual dedicated to evil from attacking us. The only way to prevent this is to change our way of life. We can hide in fear, or stand proudly together and let the cowardly know that we will never falter in our beliefs. Once we become a risk averse, rather than a risk mitigation society, we have lost, the idea dies, and those who oppose us are victorious. And every single one of those who have sacrificed their lives for our IDEA have done so in vain. We must never allow it.

      • They did similar things.

      • Terror is not new. People have been doing despicable things to each other since before written history.

        The methods change but the goal of striking fear is the same.

        In Ben’s days they didn’t have suicide bombers no but they did burn houses down bot on the side that supported colonists and the side that supported the king.

        That was the terrorism of the day.

    • I think a bit of context is sorely needed here. Ben Franklin was rallying the Colonists around the idea of revolution from an oppressive British rule which forsake them basic liberties.

      I’d argue that the American people today have a fairly high level of “essential” liberties awarded to them. Certain liberties, like the ability to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, are restrained in the name of public safety: these are hardly essential. Nor should it be essential to bring devices which could cause mass destruction or devastating loss of life into a large gathering of innocent people.

      • Mr Forecheck, liberties are not ‘awarded’ by the the government. Liberty is a right of all men and women. The government is to protect it.

        See my reply above regarding the responsibility that comes with freedom.

        “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”
        –Thomas Jefferson

      • me, I am just waiting for the president to begin public registration for pressure cookers… because, hey, pressure cookers can be used as an explosive device. Just another thing to horde along with my guns and religion.

        DK: No politics here. Ever.

  4. The security at Penguins games has been a rather poor joke. Just a few weeks ago, my dad and I remarked upon the fact that with very casual wanding and pat downs, it wouldn’t be difficult for a very committed person to get something into the building that could cause damage. It was sort of frightening to discuss, but we just moved on from the topic. That, in and of itself, shows the type of complacency that has set in in the 11+ years since 9/11.

    Should we have called our Season Ticket rep and voiced our concerns? Maybe. But we didn’t. Not sure why. But I, for one, will welcome additional legitimate measures that do more to assure safety at my second home.

  5. Security at Atlanta venues has actually increased lately (pre-Boston). It’s always been tight at the Dome, with wandings and pat-downs by gender. Philips recently added metal detectors to the entrances (which surprised me). Turner field is the most lax, but bags still get searched reasonably thoroughly and you have to take everything out of your pockets so it can be seen.

    In all of these cases, I’m sure they’re looking mostly for personal weapons (knives, guns, etc), but I think it would be tough to get anything untoward in. Now as for how well the facilities are secured prior to the gates being opened to the public, I have no idea.

  6. Been greatly affected by seeing this tragedy befall the city of my college days. And I also had to experience downtown Boston on 9/11. Surreal to see the repeat of the streets of downtown emptied. Still haven’t caught up with all my friends there this week. I still dread hearing of one of the many somehow coming up as one of the injured.

    And increased security is certainly an appropriate response. To an extent.

    But, truthfully, there isn’t enough security to protect America that way.

    Think of all the places that this could happen. 5K races / 10k races. Tailgating areas, where whole RV’s are driven in by paying the parking fee. Subway stations before and after events. Fireworks displays in public parks. Vulnerable.

    I was at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC on a Saturday night right before Christmas. A huge open air plaza with three buildings with folks streaming through the plaza, lots of others taking pictures. Vunerable.

    Minor league stadiums throughout all of America, where a bobblehead or autograph promotion can have thousands lined up on sidewalks next to busy streets. Vulnerable.

    County and State fairs where trucks with animals and other large packages enter, food trailers, booths are setup. Vulnerable.

    Don’t see the solution. But if there are folks intent on doing unspeakable acts of horror, there aren’t enough security guards in America to stop them.

  7. It’s not even professional athletics either. Imagine all the smaller events around the country. How many people show up to a high school football game? Small college basketball games?

    They would seem more likely a target than a major, major sporting event.

    • Penn State basketball, State College Spikes, very little bag checking involved that I have seen. However, I’m not watching for it, obviously. But the security at those events does need to be stepped up.

  8. I actually did a double take when I saw a bag being checked at a Penn State basketball game this season, because I had never seen it before.

  9. One question that should be asked in all security situations is, “What are you defending against?” Anything that causes mass casualties shouldn’t be the responsibility of teams or their private security arrangements, but law enforcement (likely DHS/FBI supported by local law enforcement). Team security is mostly focused on alcohol and hand weaponry, which are BY FAR more common, and by aggregate more dangerous than mass casualty incidents.

    Personally, I feel just as safe today as I did last month, as I did in August of 2001, or even a little more so. But then again, I understand how to evaluate risky behavior.

    • “Anything that causes mass casualties shouldn’t be the responsibility of teams or their private security arrangements.”

      I beg to differ. After-the-fact investigations, yes. But the costs of security in advance of and during private sporting events (conducted for the purposes of making a profit) should be shouldered by the private parties putting on these events. The alternative is that we, the taxpayers, must foot the bill. As it is, the public coffers often have to pay for the extra man-hours required to prepare for and patrol public events, such as parades and festivals. I believe that the Steelers and Pirates, etc. negotiate with local police forces to have security at their games. (Wasn’t there a contract dispute with the Steelers and Pittsburgh’s finest about two years ago?) Otherwise we are talking corporate welfare.

      DK: Emphatically agreed. All three teams have pay arrangements with the Pittsburgh Police. If they don’t pay, the burden goes to the taxpayer.

      • I will say that it is a local governing body’s responsibility to require that certain security standards are met by the teams/organizers of such events. But the bill is to be footed by the organizers.

      • I agree the organization holding the event should foot the bill.

        I don’t think that is the point of the post though. Payment isn’t mentioned, although I can see how it may be interpreted as implied.

        When I read the post, I thought it pertained to the training and skill sets of the security resources. I think he’s saying that the people with Security on t-shirts who may just have them for the day are not trained to and should not be relied upon for any sophisticated security threat.

        Of course my interpretation could be wrong

  10. By the way, this is neither here nor there, but …

    A handful of you may remember that a few months ago I was anxious about whether or not my eldest kid would make the varsity baseball team. Well, two-thirds of the way into the season, I think I can relax now and say she has made it.

    Yes, “she.”

    My 16 year-old daughter tried out for — and made — her high school varsity baseball team with the boys.

    It’s not the strongest of programs, so that’s part of the explanation. But she’s been holding her own. She gets in every game, occasionally gets to start (usually at first, rarely in right — she’s a lefty), her BA is .250 and her OBP is in the mid four-hundreds against varsity pitching from these parts. On a team of sixteen, she’s basically the 10th player.

    Not bad for a 112-pound girl playing with the boys, huh?

    Last week, Bryce Harper’s old team kicked our butts. Tomorrow, we play Chad Hermansen’s alma mater. The season is flying by FAST. She’s got huge bruises and raspberries all over, has been beaned in the spine, in her shins and other places, but she’s loving it.

    She says that someday when she has her own little kids, they will have to play baseball!

  11. By the way, the Pirates were actually winning, and of course God not being on our side today, decided that we can’t have none of this. And he caste down his vengeance and anger for all of Pittsburgh to see, and with a flash of lightning he restored the loathing and despair by taking away all that was good. In a blink of an eye all that was, was no more. Including Westbrook’s 19.00 ERA after 2 innings.

  12. I’d have to disagree with your article Dejan. There is no level of security that is 100%. If someone wants to do something like this, they can’t be stopped. That doesn’t mean you have NO security, but there is no way to prevent something like this happening again.

  13. Running Backs for the draft:
    I know the Alan Robison series can only focus on 5 names — a couple of other guys to keep your eye on:
    ** LeVon Bell – Michigan State – 6-2, 235 – I believe the Steelers had him in for a private workout a week or 2 ago. Complete back. Runs inside well. Catches the ball …blocks well. He led the Big Ten in rushing with 1,793 yards, 63 ahead of Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, on 382 carries. Bell finished 2012 with 12 touchdowns while averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and added 32 catches for 167 yards and a score. Ran a 4.56 40 yard dash…..& coming from MSU, a good cold weather back. ;-)

    ** Joseph Randle – Oklahoma St – 6-0, 204 – …ran 4.59, 40 yd dash….led the Big 12 conference in rushing with 1,417 yards on 274 carries (5.2) and 14 touchdowns, averaging 109 yards per game. He was also active as a receiver, adding 28 catches for 224 yards. …..can serve as an effective kick returner
    ** Marcus Lattimore – South Carolina – 5-11, 221 – you’ve all heard the story about the injury….and the initial gamble a team will have to take on his recovery. Could pay long term dividends.
    ** (sleeper) Knile Davis – Arkansas – 6-0, 227 – had a great combine @ Indy. 4.37, 40 yard dash. 31 reps in 225 bench press.Suppossed to be someone to go in late 4th or 5th round. This junior was injury plagued in college.

    • If they could sign Bradshaw for one year on the cheap, I’d take a shot at Lattimore. With all of the other areas of need though it would be tough to gamble on him. But then again, if he is there in the sixth round ??

  14. Dejan. Your point “two” is similar to some points I’ve heard made by talking-head-security-experts who are sometimes interviewed by national news. Not the whining crowd but those who want to get security right.

    I’ve heard many of them say, we are fighting the last war, building Maginot Lines against acts that probably won’t be repeated rather than figuring out what bad guys might do NEXT.

    If local security has become more lax, my sense is that this is not the case among the national agencies that protect us. While that is not a safe offset, it is worth noting that despite what have been probably hundreds (or more) terrorist attacks in the 12-plus years since 9/11, this is the first to work on American soil. One too many but it is also worth noting that a 12-year shutout doesn’t happen by accident.

    One last unrelated but related thought. Last year my firm hired armed security to protect us. Mostly they stay outside our buildings or in lobby/exit areas. No bag checks. think presence and circulating vigilence.

    Yesterday morning a team of two were walking together through our building, talking to associates, smiling, and finishing every conversation with, “we wanted to make sure you are alright today.” Wow.

    I told them that it is always comforting to see them, and especially today.

  15. Good Morning DK. The file that is downloaded from the podcast link comes up as the show from 4/2 with Matt Cooke as the special guest. Just wanted to give you a heads up. I hope the IT people are able to get the latest file up. I look forward to listening to your radio spots every week.

    Thanks for all the great coverage!

  16. Man. The Pirates can’t even win the weather.

  17. Security at Consol Energy Center is near nonexistant. Men get light, non-serious patdowns, women and children are allowed to walk through completely unchecked. I’ve been 20 roughly 20 Pirates games in 2012 and 2013, and I’ve yet to be checked in any way shape or form. The Steelers do a great job. Although, I could gripe about how they need more employees because it takes 45 minutes to get into the building

    • Steelers….Heinz Field….let ME gripe ;-)
      Steelers Game Day…..AGREE with your point….the security upon entering the field is very good….except the lines are wayyyyyyyyyyy tooooooooooo long….encounterd 45-55 minute waits just to get inside the stadium.
      Rooney’s need to hire more game time staff to wand the people entering event. Our group missed 2 kickoffs and you shouldn’t have to plan to get to the stadium 2 hours before kickoff…..just to get inside! We appreciate & understand the security….but for the prices charged……more staff can be deployed……

      DK: The Steelers have been vocally urging fans to use different gates, not just the open end. Even had a lady screaming on the megaphone over there. Not many listen.

      • Sadly, getting around from one side of the stadium to the other on game day is very difficult.

        • DK …yes, unfortunately…my 2nd experience WAS at gate B…..away from the open end zone; ….still a miserable experience…..wrote the Rooney’s a letter….no response.

  18. JAL’s Travelin’ Man Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Unpredictable Stetson Allie

    Prospect Notebook: Recapping Week One in Altoona

    Prospect Watch: Cole Improves, Sanchez Heating Up, and Allie Stays Hot

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pregame: McDonald on ‘bad start’; Hurdle discusses McDonald’s health

    Bucs Dugout Podcast: The 2013 Pirates after 2 weeks


    Game 13: Cardinals 10 Pirates 6

    8 The Green Weenie

    Thunder and Lightning

    9 Rumbunter

    Gerrit Cole Does Some Good Work

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Bucs and Cards rained out

    • Travelin’ Man Ricky Nelson 1961 Reached number 1 and the B side, Hello Mary Lou, reached number 9. Written by Jerry Fuller who went on to perform with The Champs and later was the producer for Gary Puckett and The Union Gap. Assume everyone familiar with Ricky Nelson.

  19. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Joel Hanrahan Trade Making Pittsburgh Pirates’ Neal Huntington Look Like A Genius

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards-Pirates rained out

    13 Sports Illustrated

    Pirates RHP McDonald says he’s “fine” just off

    14 Climbing Tal’s Hill

    Ronny Cedeno: Not Wanted

    15 Miami Herald

    When is it too early to worry?

    16 CBS Sports

    St. Louis-Pittsburgh Game Preview

    17 ESPN

    In our ballparks, fear will strike out

    18 PBC Site

    Pirates’ second game against Cardinals postponed

    Notebook: Bucs option Morris, bring up righty Mazzaro


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    8 Favorite One-Tool Players

    20 Fangraphs

    Introducing a Weekly Exercise: The Fringe Five

  20. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Draft Countdown: revisiting the class of 2003

    Steelers Film Breakdown: Still Waiting on Ziggy Hood

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Roethlisberger Says Sanders is Smarter and Better Than Most Think


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Cardiff 0 Charlton 0: match report

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 16th April, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Report: Penguins & Blackhawks to Appear in NHL Stadium Series at Soldier Field in March 2014

  21. I feel just as safe when I enter PNC Park without anyone fondling or wanding me as I do when I enter a football or hockey game. In fact, I feel a bit safer because I’m not part of a crowd waiting for security outside the gate.

    Many of us attended a lot of games at Three Rivers and the Civic Arena without anything more intrusive than being looked at as security, and both we and the buildings survived just fine. It’s possible to make getting into a sporting event as joyless as going to the airport. I imagine that will shorten the lines because people will stop going.

    • Exactly! I’d rather live with a certain amount of risk than live with what it would take to maximize our security at all times.

      Sure, take a quick glance in the bookbags and maybe give a quick wand wave over people, but otherwise, point me toward the nearest beer vendor and let me find my seat.

  22. I am a big Pirates fan, so I will touch on the experiance there. I guess I haven’t thought twice about it really, kind of the ‘it will never happen to me’ thing. But I feel as safe there as I do anywhere I guess. One thing I will say, bag inspection is at a glance and kind of a ‘we’ll take your for it’ more than a inspection. I always take waters, a poncho, and some extra napkins into the ballpark in a little cooler bag, and it has many compartments that they don’t bother to look at. Now, I do kind of like that because it is quick and I am not a maniac. But, maybe that is something they could look into.

  23. It’s been years since I’ve been to DaBurgh to a game, but hubby and I go to First Niagara Pavilion at Burgettstown every year, sometimes twice, to see outdoor concerts.
    Thousands of people go there.
    Getting in at the gate, there is same sex pat downs. I usually wear a fanny pack and I have to open it for them to look thru. People have been turned away and told to get rid of bottles.
    Annoyance? Mild. Necessary? Yes.

  24. My take on the Penguins/Blackhawks in the outdoor for 2014…it’s all about the money.
    Young talent…hot commodity.

  25. DK, Here in NY as you can imagine stadium security is pretty involved. Yet as time passed from 9/11 things eased until the next threat. I would be more concerned about open venue events like the Boston Marathon. In Pittsburgh I’d worry about the Penguin fans watching the game on the big screens outside the arena during the playoffs or fans tailgating before a Steelers’ game. Those places are harder to control.

    By the way. Can’t the Pirates catch a break? Gee, there we are 4 to 2 and then get rained out!

  26. There have been a lot of mock drafts that have OLB Jarvis Jones falling to the Steelers at #17. If this would happen, would you rather have a NT or a WR in the second round?

    • I’d try and trade up in the 2nd round to get Tyler Eifert (TE from Notre Dame) if he’s still available on day 2. Otherwise, stay put and take one of Zach Ertz (TE), Robert Woods (WR), Eddie Lacy (RB), or Jesse Williams (DT). Hard to say who will be available. I wouldn’t be upset if they went after Jamar Taylor or Desmond Trufant at CB either but I don’t think they’ll be available.

  27. Very good column. Someone that flies everywhere and works practically every day in an arena or stadium is well qualified to write it. Excellent observations and points well-taken.

    Probably the ONLY thing about living in an area like this is the concern for bombs, etc. is minimal. If a bomb was detinated here, it might not even be found for 3 days, let alone hurt anyone.

    One man had a model pipe bomb in a storage locker close to town here and didn’t even get jail time for it. He said he built it off an internet site just for something to do and it wasn’t even active to go off. He said he forgot it was in there. Country living at its finest.

    • Wow, sheer stupidity. lol

      • Exactly. People do carry concealed weapons around here a lot. They go to a 2-hour class and get a license to do it. Like the Old West I guess, but with all that “training” it makes it OK.

        One clown dropped his out of his pocket in the court house, of all places, and it discharged. Nobody was hurt, but he lost his “concealed license” and rightfully so. Also avoided jail time.

        • I don’t have a problem with concealed weapons with the proper license. But man, that uhhh…person who dropped his at the courthouse deserved to have his license revoked. Wow, just wow.

    • DK enters arenas, in general, well before most others do. He speaks about his ability to enter/exit these venues and not necessarily about the experience a fan has (though he cites quotes and has asked for experiences from fans). Before we take his word as “every fan”, know that he, in general, enters and exits almost every venue/game he is covering well ahead of spectators. And he enters through a media/credentialed entrance which is far different and, most times, far easier to access. Though the Steelers media entrance is very strict… doesn’t matter if you’re local, national, or a guest: you’re getting checked and you’re turning on/off your handheld electronic gear.

  28. I’m a Steelers season ticket holder that lives in DC. The security at Steelers games is far better than any at a DC sports event. Occasionally you will get wanded at a Caps or Wizards game. Occasionally. At the Steelers games I am always wanded and patted down. Bags are always check. They seem to take security far more seriously than DC sports teams.

  29. My experience 3 weeks ago……………….

    Went to an event, 9,000+ people.

    Lines everywhere to enter the arena………. some 45 minutes long.

    A security guard sees my knee brace, and me doing my “drunken hippo” limp, and whisks me past all the lines, through a handicapped entrance to be wanded. Policeman comes over, looks at me and says ……. “you look harmless, you can go to your seat, sir.”
    I was stunned. I have never experienced that before. (The wave-thru, not my “drunken hippo” walk.)

    My friends joined me 30 minutes later, and when I told them what happened, they were a little concerned too.

    Just what happened to me.
    Just think if that happened to a “bad guy”.

      • Well, to be fair, I DO look harmless. ;)
        I didnt have any backpacks, no bulky jacket, etc.

        But I thought they would at least wand me, but they didnt.

        My friends got wanded, patted down, and I was sitting in my seat eating popcorn.

        The potential for a bad thing to happen was pretty great, if the worng person would have gotten in.

  30. Message from the Consol Energy to fans:|PIT|home

  31. I’ve only attended about 6 games at PNC, in the last 10 years, 1 game at Heinz Field and no games at either Consol Center or the Civic Arena and safety is the primary reason though not for any of the reason cited by Dejan. These venues are some of a small number of places that legally licensed residents can not carry their firearms and as such one of the few places we’re unable to defend ourselves should the need arise. And make no mistake, the decisions to place these facilities in some of the worst, crime ridden areas of the city has resulted in observed acts of violence at each and every one of the seven events we attended in that period. Last time it was a brawl between competing ticket scalpers on a side street outside PNC that escalated into a mini riot with bottles being thrown and a knife being brandished before the combatants fled to avoid arrest. Time before that my wife and I found a badly beaten and bloodied woman lying between the cars in the lot where we parked. Time before that we returned to our friend’s car who we’d gone with to find windows smashed and looted along with several others and that was after witnessing a melee break out at the game in the section below us. And this problem is not unique to Pittsburgh as in recent years there have been numerous instances of gang and crime related violence at sporting events some of which have resulted in death to innocent fans attending them. We moved out of the city due in no small part due to the chronic violence and crime problems, we avoid traveling into the city whenever possible because of it and are armed on those occasions when we can’t avoid it and walking unarmed through the sea of drunken brawlers, panhandlers, gang members and criminals that descend on the areas on game days is simply to much risk to endure in order to watch a sporting event.

  32. DK or anyone else,

    Do you know why the Pirates are advertising their game 3 tonight against St. Louis to be broadcast on mlb network, yet mlb network doesn’t have the game in their line-up? It’s been on the Pirates website broadcast schedule, as well as popped up during Cinci tv game Saturday night. Neither comcast nor lists the game as part of their schedule.



    • Root is televising the Pens.

      They must have an agreement where a local team can switch over if their original TV network cant do it, I guess.

    • The game is being broadcast on the alternate channel for MLB Network if you are a DirecTV subscriber (Channel 214). Any other provider, I’m not sure about, but the Root Sports website did provide a list of channels for where to find the game on each specific provider.

  33. Another hockey tidbit:
    Pens signed Hartzell, the goalie who led Quinnipiac to the NCAA National Championship Final, to a $925K entry level contract. We’ve got Zatkoff in the system. Zatkoff outplayed Thiessen for the starting goalie job in WBS. Thiessen is a free agent at the end of the season. I’m guessing he’ll likely go. Goalie is a position that this organization needs to address, and I’m hoping Hartzell sticks around to back up Zatkoff. Here’s the link:

    • Read a great article by Mike Colligan over at The Hockey Writers regarding the Hartzell signing. He made some great points, one being that this signing may be more than it appears. Hartzell could have been brought in as a potential number 2/3 goalie for future years if Fleury has another post season flop and the Pens decide to part ways with him. Not saying that I see this happening, but Shero and management have shown and expressed that making it to the playoffs is not enough for this team. Winning the Stanley Cup is the bar for a successful season.

  34. Are the Pens just wearing their regular jerseys for next season’s outdoor game? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it reported that there wouldn’t be an alternate jersey next season?

  35. I’ve never been able to figure out why someone needs a backpack to go to a ballgame. Always makes me nervous.

  36. While stadium security deserves attention, I think we’re all forgetting the biggest current threat: Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Just won 12 of 14 and looking way too confident and chemistry-cized for my liking. Could be this year’s Kings, which would be my worst sports nightmare come true.

  37. As a Pitt football season ticket holder, I find Heinz field security to be inconsistent. In the column DK mentions having to flick on electronic devices. I have never had to do that, for either my phone or my kids’ Nintendo DS.

    I also don’t understand the reasoning behind allowing bags of a certain size (8.5 x 11 I believe), but NOT if they are backpacks. What does the type of bag have to do with security? Once they refused us entry because my daughter had her book and markers in a drawstring nylon bag that could be worn as a backpack (it was allowed other times). Of course it was fine when we got a plastic bag from the team store outside the gate and put everything, including the drawstring bag, inside it. But supermarket plastic bags are prohibited. Also, you can’t bring in any drinking containers unless they are empty, except for the $5 lemonade and iced tea they sell at the vendors outside the stadium. From these two examples, I sense a willingness to compromise “security” for profits.

    • I believe DK may be thinking about security for credentialed media. You most certainly will be asked to turn on/off your devices going through Heinz Field media security entrance… but like you DanW, I’ve never had that issue when attending a Steelers game or Pitt game as a ticket holding fan.

  38. Dont mean to deviate from more serious concerns but for the sake of lightening the mood I was wondering if anyone heard of the pens showing interest in Malcolm the Yale goalie? He held up against 3 #1 seeds and looked as athletic and quick laterally as Hartzell…maybe even more so. Thought he was as impressive as anyone in the tourney.

  39. Good article. While it would be a major pain, I would be completely on board if the Pirates and the Pens stepped up their screening. When talking with friends after the Pirates home opener, I really was surprised to learn that two people in my group actually entered PNC Park with hand guns, holstered under their coats. Both have carry permits. Both acknowledge that firearms are prohibited in PNC Park. Both said if security would have found the weapons, they would have returned them to their vehicles without complaint. When asked for the reason they carried the guns with them, both cited the lack of what they felt were adequate security measures. They said they do the same for Penguins games, but not Steelers or Pitt because of the wanding. I do not doubt that they weren’t the only people in the park with handguns on them.

  40. I see Stetson Allie hit another dinger last night.

    Kinda impressive, I think that is No. 6 for him

  41. FWIW, i often hit the ballpark on my way home from work (or play hooky at lunch for day games). It is common practice during bag check at PNC Park to demonstrate that all your electronic devices (laptops, tablets, etc.) can be powered on.

  42. Being familiar with the security practices at Heinz Field (for both the Steelers and Pitt), I was totally shocked at the complete absence of security at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium. Once your ticket is ripped, you can simply walk right into the stadium with absolutely zero encounters with security. The first game I went to was the first game without Joe Paterno, when security should have been at its highest (for PSU standards), as there were extremist groups in the area and the National spotlight was on the University’s safety practices for those around the football program. It’s obvious to me that Penn State is simply a place that disregards the safety of those who attend their events for the sake of a “good Saturday,” even down to the parking lots. I attempted to leave the parking lot after the game, but was unable to because of the tents, debris and cars blocking the exits. I fear that one terrible occurrence will happen in Happy Valley, because they appear to be, in no way, prepared to handle such a thing.

  43. Very good article, DK. I rarely go to Steeler games but I take a lot of comfort in knowing that they take such precautions.

  44. I very rarely comment here DK, but I have to note that articles like this are the types of things that get referenced by some congressman as “a public outcry for change”… etc etc that is ultimately used to take more and more of our personal freedom away in all public space. I would rather sacrifice a modicum of security to be able to go to public areas without being interrogated and harrased.

    I hope that I am not in the minority in this opinion in the US.

    DK: Outcry? I’d like to see our sports stadiums be safer. We can’t afford even one incident of that scale. Sole point.

    • DK,

      I don’t think anyone that has posted here today would disagree with your point on another incident. Sorry for speaking for others, I can say with certainty that I agree.

      Some are saying that more security can’t always be the answer. Because no amount of security can 100% assure safety. I think most on the more security side would agree there is a limit to the security too.

      It’s a discussion on what is “reasonable”. In quotes not to diminish it, but to recognize that it’s definition needs to be agreed upon or determined by majority.

      It’s not fair to take the banner of “no more occurrences” for one side of the debate. Nobody wants to see something like this happen.

      To stretch the security argument to a logical extreme (and not that far fetched if more security is always the answer): are we talking cavity searches? How far does the security go?

      I don’t think There are many on the side of security that would support cavity searches at sporting events. That’s what I mean that there has to be agreement or majority determination of what is reasonable.

      You seem to be taking the position that more security will stop these acts. Some do not think that is true. But that doesn’t mean that folks cautioning against security as the only answer feel less troll guy about not wanting this to happen again.

      Please excuse me if this should have been a new post.

      DK: I have zero problem with anyone disagreeing. Made a legit attempt to understand what Rob was trying to say up there, eventually gave up.

      • Thats supposed to be ‘strongly’.

        troll guy? Really, that’s the suggestion. :)

        Guess I stopped proof reading a little too soon.

  45. Brandie, you sure bring more fun here…even with the dismal subject at hand. Hope you stick around, girl :)
    I gotta put the nose to the mill….work needs done…I’ll check in a bit later…enjoy your afternoon all :)

  46. I read in the St. Louis paper that the game last night that was rained out has to be made up in the Cardinals next visit to Pittsburgh July 29-Aug 1, due to a new MLB rule. That will turn the four game series into a five game set.

    Just curious if anyone is familiar with what rule that is?

    • Can’t help you with the rule, JRay.

      Enjoyed the back and forth with you on the pitching subject yesterday. Good points, for sure.

      • Likewise @ NMR…the one thing I enjoy about this blog is even though there maybe different ways of seeing, interpreting, or looking at items which leads to varying opinions, I always realize we all share the same common bond…we are all very passionate about the PBC and the game of baseball.

  47. I think the article was written out of fear and not logic.

    Mass murderers don’t wake up and say, ummm, should I get some ice cream, bomb a marathon, or shoot up a school today. Don’t confuse evil with stupid. Almost all of these events are planned months if not years in advanced. It’s not that hard to get a security or vending job at an arena or a stadium. Again, evil is planned, get a job and wait.

    On a side note, next time you are in a football game, look around and see how many people snuck alcohol into the game. If you can get that in, what else can you get in?

    Plus, with all the stadiums there is always thousands of people trying to get in the game last minute, standing shoulder to shoulder, right outside security. What would happen if something went off there?

    Fear overrides logic. The bottom line is, if someone is willing to kill, there is no law, no background check, no registration, that can save you.

  48. If someone wants to disrupt any type of event, I don’t believe there is adequate security to stop them. I have very little faith in my fellow man. With so many people carrying weapons legally and illegally, the chances of one of them going off accidentally or intentionally increase your risk daily, esp. where so many weapons-holders are either mentally ill, desperate, or fancy themselves as an action hero or member of law enforcement. Heck, the same people that wave to you at church will cut you off on your way to work.

    But you can’t live your life waiting for something to happen. Focus on what you are there for, rather than the potential risks. But also be vigilant, within reason.

  49. Sadly, my immediate thoughts after Monday’s news were exactly the same, regarding stadium safety. Like Dejan said, outside of Heinz, the sociopath part of me always is amazed at how easily I could have brought anything into PNC, Consol, McKechnie, or several other stadiums. As long as you don’t bring bags, it seems too easy.

    The first time I went to Consol, I stood at the door for a few moments longer, expecting to be patted down more than one time under my armpits. My friend laughed at me as I stood there with my arms outstretched. If you’re only going to do one pat, why on earth would it be one time under my armpits?

  50. I don’t know if there will ever be adequate security in place to protect a 26.2 mile marathon route. Those things are a security nightmare on many levels.

    Sporting events at stadiums are another story. I’ve been really impressed at places (KC’s Kauffman Stadium comes to mind), and actually a little alarmed at others (Doak Campbell stadium, FSU football).

    My one and only trip to a Royals game saw people being wanded, and random smears being taken on some hand held items, then checked for explosives (I presume). Not sure if that’s the norm, or maybe something was going on. Either way, I was impressed at not only their attention to detail, but by how smooth the process went.

    At Doak Campbell a couple years ago, I left at halftime because of the fights taking place in the stands. It was the one and only time I felt threatened at a sporting event. My one memory of that night was seeing a “security guard” walking up towards the one fight and saying “they’ll tucker themselves out in a few minutes”.

    Security responsibilities at any sporting event go beyond wands and bag searches. People need to believe if something happens in the stands, that there will be an appropriate response. That wasn’t the case in Tallahassee. And because of that, I will never go back.

  51. In light of some of the above comments and the column topic, I feel compelled to mention this.

    I don’t want to offend anyone of different beliefs, as this is a sports blog and not my blog, but, with DK’s permission, I think this may help some. He can erase it if he thinks necessary and it won’t offend me in the least.

    Those of us who believe the Bible need to read or preferably memorize Psalm 91. Read it every day and read it to your children if you have them and get them familiar with it. Speak it over your family and anyone you have spiritual authority over. I’m sure Patrick who wrote the letter yesterday is quite familiar with it.

    I memorized it many years ago and never leave home or do anything without it and have been safe and protected time and again and, I’m sure, many times I’m not even aware of. Same for my family, as we can’t be with them every minute of every day.

    Again, I don’t want to offend anyone on here who is an atheist, agnostic, or any other belief. Just want to share this because, I believe, it is our only form of real protection anywhere on earth.

  52. Thanks for the Man of Steel trailer link. Looking forward to it. Crowe proves already a better cast than sleepwalking Brando. And Amy Adams has requisite moxie to play Lois Lane.

    Film will rise or fall on performance by Henry Cavill.

    • +1

      The trailer at least seemed to hit the right sentiment.

      I’ve heard Chris Sims state it like this, more or less: Superman’s real superpower is to always do the right thing, even if it’s not easy, and to therefore inspire others to follow his example.

      If this movie captures this sentiment, it’s a successful adaptation.

  53. FYI, they arrested a suspect from the tragedy on Monday.

  54. Pretty interesting stat I just came across:

    AJ Burnett’s 27 K’s in his first three starts is the most by a Pirate pitcher since Jose DeLeon’s 28 K’s in first three starts of 1985.

    Now there is a name from the past.

  55. From someone that has to deal with different type of security measures EVERY single day, the biggest risk could be standing around waiting to be screened.

    Now, I haven’t been to Heinz, PNC, or the Consol (at all) in a few years and don’t exactly remember the security measures, but if you have a gaggle (technical term) of people standing around, that is when the enemy would attack.

    I have yet to see a sports facility do anything proactive or productive with security measures.

    In SF for a Giants game, a stadium that is sold out every single night, is setting themselves up for disaster. Every entrance is a mess.

    All in all, I’m not concerned about what might happen when I’m INSIDE facility, but what could happen outside of the facility. That’s where people really need to be protected.

  56. Hi Pittsburgh,

    I’m one of those that reads but doesn’t usually comment, but this column Dejan really bothers me. How safe do I feel? As safe as I did last week, last year, 10 years ago. I’m not big on statistics, but what are the real odds that anyone of us living in this country are going to be a victim of terrorism? No I don’t mean the laws we all now endure which violate our privacy rights, just the odds that you or me is going to be blown up, in a building that a plane is flown into, or any other soup of the day terrorist act we hear so much about in the heads lines. My guess is those odds are not as good as you being involved in a traffic accident, or dieing of a heart attack before the age of 50, or you pick the event.

    How much fear should we all carry around with us? How much is enough, and what real good does it do considering the odds of us being directly involved in an act of terrorism? How much more of our freedoms should we give up, and what real security does it actually provide? What is the terrorists goal? Oh yeah, instill fear in the public.

    When are we going to start asking the right questions? When are our sports writers, all media for that matter, along with our politicians going to ask why these terrorists feel their only recourse is to blow up innocent bystanders? I’m not condoning these actions or even justifying them. The issue is people are fed up with the way the world is, and realize that our so called leaders have no answers, except to burden the average citizen with their ineffective solutions.

    So let’s all sit back now and feel better that we will see more security guards standing at the entrance to any game you go to and feel assured that fewer screw balls can walk in with a device. We have a problem people and it is not the number of security guards standing there eyeballing you and patting you down as you enter the gate. But if it makes you feel safer then all is ok. Now you all feel safer right?

    DK: ‘Only recourse?’ You’d really rather prefer to view this through the eyes of the terrorist?

    Be my guest.

    • Yes. that’s why they’re terrorists. But who were they prior? Where they born terrorists? No, you, me and the majority of individuals don’t resort to terrorism. But we have a nice label which makes us feel better because their extreme, and they have a “name”? Why does the guy go out and blow away his family before he blows a whole in his head. Is he a terrorist? How about the country that invades another and blows away a percentage of its population? What “recourse” example are we supposed to use? Why don’t we ask those questions? Until we do do, why bother asking anyone if they feel safer? Because someone is getting patted down and wanded? Or it only matters because you go to sporting events? You can’t get there from here unless you ask those questions.

      DK: Wow, yeah, I’ll spend the rest of my waking hours wondering what we could have done to prevent someone from wanting to bomb nails into children’s legs. If only I’d cared a little more about that guy’s feelings …

      • ok Dejan, time to close your eyes or is that your mind and go back to sleep. Really hope you feel “safer” now.

        Feelings, interesting point you raise though. Fear is a feeling the last time I checked. Plays right into the terrorist play book too. Thanks for contributing to the age of fear, and offering a solution. That’s your solution right, you implying if we all care about the nail bomber, he won’t, or more armed security will make it just all go away.

        DK: Does this come with subtitles?

        • Haha, maybe it should I guess. One of the things about your writing that I appreciate is your addressing root causes, not band-aids. My only point is your raising this issue about feeling safer is only band-aid, if that. Until we start openly discussing the root causes, talking about why the band-aid doesn’t work, or isn’t big enough only speaks to the band aid or blood. I know we all get caught up in the event when it is fresh in our minds, and most times only think about how it affects our individual world.

          The only thing I do know is problems aren’t solved until the root cause or causes are identified, and that is only the start of the debate. That is why I made my original comment about this post. At the very least I thank you for reading and acknowledging my comments.

          DK: I agree with and respect that all-around. Thanks for your input and for clarifying, Rob. It’s an immensely complicated — and vexing — problem. I elected to focus on one area, that’s all.

          • It may be silly of me, but I’m glad you two came to mutual ground on this.

            I’m actually pleasantly surprised at the lack of incivility in the discussion here today. Good to see.

            • Thanks Billy/Dejan,

              Next time I’m in Pittsburgh I’m buying (at least the 1st round) After a few we can solve all the Worlds problems, I’m a bit mellower after a few. Been a long day, won’t jinx anything but enjoying two games so far!

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