Canadian sports join in the post-Boston Marathon security buildup

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Marco Werman: So, the marathon bombing changed security measures here in Boston and across the US, but it didn’t stop there. Sports fans in Canada also are adjusting to the new normal. The World’s one-woman Canada desk, Andrea Crossan, just came back from Toronto. So, tell us how the marathon bombing has affected Canadians, Andrea.


Andrea Crossan: Hey, Marco. Yeah, I am just back from the homeland, and last week was the season home opener for the Toronto Blue Jays. Fans had to go through metal detetors to get into Rogers Centre, which is the home field for the Jays. Apparently fans were waiting as long as half an hour in a lineup to get inside.


Werman: Wow. So, is this a leaguewide change and is the league saying “Yes, because of the Boston Marathon bombing, we have to be stricter on both sides of the Canadian-US border”?


Crossan: Yeah, it is for all 30 teams in Major League Baseball. It’s mandatory for teams to have metal detectors screening. The CBC actually spoke to the Blue Jay’s head of security, a guy named Mario Coutinho about the new security measures.


Mario Coutinho: Well, they look like they’re the metal detectors at the airport, but ours are set up at a less sensitive level. So, at the end of the day you can leave your belts, your shoes, your jacket on, your coins in your pocket. Just remove any cellphone, keys, or any heavy metal items you may have.


Crossan: Now, you know, a lot of people talk about this kind of thing being like “security theatre”--we put these things in place just to make ourselves feel better. But it’s not like Canadians see this as an American problem. As you remember, there was an attack on Parliament Hill in Ottawa last October by a lone gunman and there was also, just last month, two terrorist suspects were convicted in Canada of plotting to blow up a Canadian passenger train.


Werman: Right, so not just security drama. They clearly get the need for tighter security.


Crossan: Yeah, but at the end of the day it’s about the drama on the field. For Blue Jays fans, it’s been a long dry season. They have not made the playoffs since 1993, giving them the longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball.


Werman: Well Andrea, better security ain’t gonna help with that. The World’s Andrea Crossan. Thank you.


Crossan: Thank you, Marco.