Nationals Park will ban backpacks and other large bags from entering the ballpark this season, the Nationals’ PR department said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The policy, which the team said would “enhance ballpark safety,” will go into effect at the beginning of the 2019 season. It continues the previous policy of barring any bag above 16”x16”x8” from entering the park, but now poses a uniform ban on all backpacks.
“We understand the implementation of these procedures will take some time for our fans to get used to, but our organization is dedicated to making Nationals Park the safest environment possible for everyone in attendance,” said Scott Fear, Washington Nationals Vice President of Public Safety and Security.
The team will still allow in any bag smaller than the 16”x16”x8” dimensions, including purses and coolers, and will issue exceptions in ADA/family entrances for diaper bags that double as backpacks.
In the past, stadium security has searched every bag entering the stadium.
In 2015, the team added MLB-mandated metal detectors through which fans must pass before walking into the stadium.
But while this policy will likely cut down on ballpark entry time, a number of fans on social media said they found the change disappointing, preventing easy trips to the ballpark—centrally located in the city—from work or meetings.
Welp, no more being able to go to a ballgame straight from work.— Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog (@the_other_bunny) February 1, 2019
Not buying season tickets this year. Or again.
So people who take Metro or the bus to your games after work are supposed to do what, exactly?— Matt Dickens (@rantoftheminute) February 1, 2019
What are people coming from work supposed to do? What are families with young kids suppose to do? We aren't a fanbase that sells out games every night. We need to be more accommodating to want more people to come to the park and this does this exact opposite of that.— CJ Stephanson (@ceeeej793) February 1, 2019
The Nationals join D.C. United and the Washington Redskins—who both have “clear bag policies”—as local teams that place sharp restrictions on bags, while the Capital One Arena has a singular size restriction for bags of any kind.