Twins eye new restrictions on what fans can carry into Target Field

Indians Twins Baseball
Fans enter the ballpark for the baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Minneapolis.
Bruce Kluckhohn | AP

The Minnesota Twins are weighing changes to security at the entrance to Target Field, including discussions about what may be allowed through the gates.

A spokesperson for the team called the discussions very preliminary, limited so far to a single meeting this week to solicit ideas.

"We're trying to explore ways to speed up [entry] for our fans," the Twins' Dustin Morse said. "There's so many things that we would need to test run and think through."

Morse said an immediate move to a so-called "clear bag policy" wasn't part of the discussions so far. But he also wouldn't put any parameters yet on a potential change. Morse said there wasn't a timeline, either, although he did not rule out a change this season.

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Strict limits on what fans can bring into sports venues went to new levels in 2013, part of the NFL's reaction to the Boston Marathon bombings earlier that year. Here's the NFL policy, which first went into effect at the Metrodome and continues for Vikings Games and many other events at U.S. Bank Stadium:

• Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12".

• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (zip-close bag or similar).

• Small clutch bags that are 4.5" x 6.5", with or without a handle or strap, may be carried into the stadium along with one of the clear bag options.

The NBA implemented similar bag restrictions for the 2017-2019 basketball season, and the Minnesota Wild and the NHL made the change last fall for the just-concluded ice hockey season. Minnesota United opened Allianz Field stadium this spring with a "clear bag" policy for soccer games.

Many NCAA venues have instituted similar measures.

Clear bag policies have occasionally drawn the ire of female fans, because they restrict purses to very small hand-held "clutch" bags, forcing purse-toters to repack their personal items to get into games. It took weeks for fans to get used to the change at the Metrodome, with some being turned away initially.

Major League Baseball venues have been much more permissive, partly by tradition: Fans have waved banners and signs and carried in baseball gloves and rain gear into ballparks for decades. They're also subject to the elements more than Wild, Vikings and Timberwolves fans.

Here's the backpack policy at Target Field, one of the key differences between the home of the Twins and other Minnesota teams:

Soft-sided containers and bags 16" by 16" by 8" or smaller are permitted into Target Field. The Minnesota Twins reserve the right to inspect and remove any package or container or their contents. Coolers and bags of any size with hard sides are not allowed in the ballpark.

Backpacks are banned in other venues. Some teams, like the Minnesota Wild, also ban outside food, which the Twins do not.

Morse mentioned backpacks as one of the aspects of the existing policy that might be a matter of further discussion. "Security has to look through each bag. That slows the process, people at the gates get a little frustrated," Morse said in an interview. "We're trying to look at making the experience more enjoyable for all and speed up the process."

He also said that security remains a top priority for the team, and that the team would not consider sacrificing safety for speed, just to get fans in the door quicker.

Morse said there would be plenty of time for ballpark goers to plan for possible changes. He expects that the team will have weeks of messaging and explanations to let people know what to expect at the Target Field gate.

"We wouldn't blindside our fans," he said.