Pirates installing metal detectors at PNC Park

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Pirates are installing walk-through metal detectors at every entrance gate to screen fans as they enter PNC Park, the club announced Wednesday.

The Pirates are in the process of installing the 44 walk-through metal detectors and shifting away from the metal-detecting wands that have been in use since mid-2013. They will be used for every Pirates home game and other major events held at PNC Park.

The changes are part of an initiative throughout Major League Baseball calling for metal-detection devices to be in place to screen all guests as they enter each ballpark. The Pirates already met that requirement, but elected to install walk-through metal detectors to enhance the fan experience, according to a club release.

"This is another example of our consistent effort to provide our fans with the very best experience possible at PNC Park," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. "The safety of our fans will always be top priority. We believe that the move to walk-through metal detectors will enhance fan safety, while also speeding up the screening process versus the use of metal detecting wands."

The club encourages fans to leave all "unnecessary metal objects" at home or in their vehicles. Fans will not have to remove their jackets, belts, coins, keys, wallets, watches or other objects of similar size. They will be asked to remove cell phones, cameras, tablets, laptops and other large metal objects and slide them in an extended tray along each individual machine. Once through the machine, fans can gather their items and head inside the park.

"A simple rule of thumb for all fans to follow is to remove everything larger than a mobile phone," Coonelly said. "By eliminating the need to empty out all of their pockets of items such as wallets, keys and coins, we feel this new system will help expedite the entrance process at PNC Park."

The Pirates will post signs and position employees near each walk-through metal detector to instruct fans as they enter. All of PNC Park's other existing gate policies and procedures will remain in place this season.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.