Security all over the MLB will be tighter this year and entry to all the ballparks promises to be much slower. Metal detectors have been installed at Petco Park and I can already tell it's going to be a source of frustration. I arrived at Padres FanFest at noon, a good 4-5 hours after the gates were opened. There was no line and it still took me a solid minute or two to get through security and gain entry.
Yay! Metal detectors! pic.twitter.com/PGSw4SkGJu— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) April 4, 2015
There were no directions from the staff when I reached the gate but it was very similar to airport security. If you have a bag, security pokes and prods through it with a paint stirring or a drum stick. From there you make it to the next stage where you place your keys, phone and any other metal objects into a Tupperware bowl.
I think one of the main bottlenecks in the process is that there's only one bowl, unlike at airports. So I had to wait for the guy in front of me to walk through the metal detector and collect his coins and everything else from the bowl before I could put my things in and walk through. I think if they had more than one bowl and an area for slow people to step aside while they collect their things, it could be much faster. It might help if there was someone there to take some leadership and corral people too, since everyone seemed lost.
My tips would be:
1. Don't bring a bag if you can help it so that you'll be able to use the express line.
2. Don't fill your pockets with metal objects.
3. Be prepared when you get to the gate, don't be caught be surprised and slow up the line.
4. Arrive early or really late.
5. Be patient and don't panic.
Opening Day is going to be insanely slow, come prepared.
When Dex and I were leaving the Padres Store we found that you have to empty your pockets of metal objects again and waved with a metal detecting wand by security. This was far slower than entry to the park. We waited in a line of about 10 people for over 5 minutes. I'm not sure if they were looking for stolen merchandise or knives but it was detrimental to the experience.
Surprisingly I was able to cope with the changes in a spirited and resilient way. If the Padres had a mettle detector it'd have beeping.