By Jeff Wagner

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The St. Paul Saints are making sure fans have a safer experience when entering CHS Field.

On a sunny Memorial Day weekend, thousands of fans flocked to the stadium. When they got to the gate, they noticed a new security measure: Security staff holding metal detecting wands and asking fans to empty their pockets.

“It’s something that we planned on at the end of last season,” said General Manager Derek Sharrer. “The world’s changing around us a little bit.”

The additional safety measure made its debut after the terror attack at a concert arena in Manchester England, but Sharrer said it was supposed to happen days earlier. Officials said they needed to hire more security staff in order to handle the crowds that swell past 8,000 people. Sharrer said fan safety is of the utmost importance.

“It’s an opportunity to come to the ballpark for 3 to 3.5 hours, enjoy a few laughs with friends, enjoy some great baseball and have fun and relax without thinking about what’s going on outside of these gates,” he said.

It took each fan about 10 seconds or less to get through the new layer of security. Occasionally the lines got backed up, especially when it was close to first pitch. But fans say waiting to be wanded was worth it.

“Just a quick wand, so I was comfortable with it,” said Marc Delosier of St. Paul.

“It wasn’t an inconvenience and it didn’t take much time and it added security,” said Denise Packard, who attended the game with her husband and kids. “I think it was a good idea.”

She was also pleased that the security guards used the wand on her children.

“I thought that was kind of nice because (the kids) were curious what was going on so they felt included,” she said.

And in true Saints fashion, “usher-tainers” who wore customs and acted out goofy characters kept the mood light while people are lined up at the gate, helping fans enjoy the game with a smile along with their new sense of security.

“Hopefully creating some laughs on the way in,” said Sharrer.

The new security measures will remain at CHS Field beyond this season.

Jeff Wagner