Extra security to blanket big weekend Police, Orioles beef up lineups

October 04, 1991|By Kent Baker

Although the crowds are expected to be well-behaved, the city police department and Baltimore Orioles have beefed up security forces for this weekend's final baseball series at Memorial Stadium.

The number of uniformed officers on duty has been more than doubled -- from 40 to 100 -- and plainclothes police will be patrolling outside the stadium looking for ticket scalpers, pickpockets and vandals.

The Orioles will have additional parking attendants, ticket-takers and ushers to assure an orderly flow into the historic series, which is expected to draw approximately 150,000 fans, including Vice President Dan Quayle at Sunday's finale.

Lt. Phil Farace, the police detail commander who has worked 16 years at the stadium, does not anticipate widespread rowdiness.

"I think this is going to be a very mild crowd," he said. "There is going to be a lot of crying going on. And we handle 50,000 sometimes during the middle of the season.

"This is an occasion where everybody wants to be seen. Most of the real ball fans couldn't get tickets."

Nevertheless, mounted police will be stationed on the field Sunday after the game in case fans try to tear out seats or grab some sod for souvenirs.

It will be the first time mounted police have been used since the final series of 1982, when the Orioles were trying to overtake the Milwaukee Brewers for the American League East title and Earl Weaver was retiring as the manager.

Roy Sommerhof, Orioles director of stadium services, said the team "has done some subtle things the fans won't even notice to ensure their safety. There will be lots of eyes and ears on people. We want to be prepared for anything that happens."

Sommerhof said he hopes the behavior does not get unruly because more events -- the Maryland-Penn State and traditional Thanksgiving Day high school football games -- are scheduled for later this year at the stadium.

"We've been telling people that all along," he said. "The city has worked on a campaign reminding everybody that not only the Orioles play here.

"We've got a stupendous program planned. We want people to focus on that. We want to make our additions as transparent as possible."

As an added precaution, sales of alcohol will be ended an inning earlier than usual, after the sixth for vended items and after the seventh at the concession stands.

If there are rain delays, Farace said, the police are ready.

"I'm sure we'll stay here as long as we can," he said. "But I don't think there is going to be the problem with this weekend that we have with some other events."

Sommerhof said the Orioles "will have to modify slightly for security reasons" to accommodate Quayle's appearance, but that is standard procedure.

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