07/06/11 8:36 PM ET
Chase Field security prepares for All-Star Game
By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com
But what Hall -- along with Yahner, Phoenix fire chief Bob Kahn and Major League Baseball vice president of security and facility management Earnell Lucas -- weren't joking about on Wednesday was the safety of fans during the All-Star Game festivities beginning on Friday.
"This is about safety," Hall said. "The D-backs take pride in what we consider the best treatment of fans every year, we've often been named the safest, cleanest, most fan-friendly venue in all of sports and we take great pride in that."
And in the upcoming week, as baseball fans from across the country flock to Phoenix for the 82nd Midsummer Classic, the venue, city and organization will be put to the test regarding safety and security.
"It's both inside and outside [the stadium]," Hall said. "We want to make sure our fans know that with all the people that will be coming here for the events, it's going to take a little more time."
Hall said because of security checks, gates at Chase Field will open three hours prior to the beginning of each event and he encouraged fans to get downtown early in accordance with those safety checks.
Yahner, along with Kahn, have been planning for the All-Star festivities for over a year and said that preparation will be key for all events to run safely and smoothly.
"We have a great planning team," Yahner said. "We have great teamwork amongst our public safety team and we are prepared."
Yahner said to expect an increased presence among the police and fire departments in the downtown area, something typical of a D-backs home game but beefed up due to the magnitude of the event to ensure a safe environment.
He noted street closures during the five-day event and encouraged spectators to arrive early, take advantage of the METRO light rail and to ask police officers any questions that might come to mind.
"We've had great cooperation throughout the city and throughout our public safety partners and we're looking forward to a positive fan-friendly event," Yahner said. "We're here to provide not only a safe environment, but also a customer-friendly environment."
Kahn said that he anticipated the heat becoming a factor and that there will be a tactical operation center located close to Chase Field that will respond to any crisis situations that might surface.
To battle the heat, misters, first responders and life support carts will be present in the ballpark area and along Sunday's Red Carpet parade route.
"Certainly we're set up for the heat," he said. "The air conditioning is exceptional."
Hall noted that for the first time in recent history, all events besides the parade will be held indoors.
Senior vice president of Major League Baseball Properties Ethan Orlinsky was also on hand to inform the public of any counterfeit problems that might arise in the downtown streets.
"Oftentimes, people think of counterfeiting as a victimless crime," Orlinsky said. "But quite frankly, there are probably more victims of counterfeiting than there are of just about any other crime."
He stressed a "buyer beware" approach to buying tickets and memorabilia in order to fight off fraud.
"It's a real issue that we have to deal with and part of our experience here is to make sure that no fan has to deal with this issue," he said.
Orlinsky said to look for a MLB hologram on merchandise that identifies it as officially-licensed, to beware of ripped tags or irregularly marked apparel and to make sure they're buying tickets from a reliable source.
"We can't guarantee that everybody who sees a ticket will know if it's legitimate or illegitimate," he said.
In response to a question about pro-immigration protests that could be held, Yahner said the police would deal with them like they have during any protests in the past.
"We're very fortunate that in Phoenix, our protesters have been very peaceful with very few injuries," he said. "We work well with those individual groups and our whole goal is to provide a safe environment, ensure First Amendment rights and make sure everybody protests in a proper manner.
"We're prepared for it and we'll deal with it."
Anthony Fenech is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.