World Series week is finally upon us, and once again, the Houston Astros are back on the hunt to win the pennant.
A large-scale event like the World Series requires large-scale security and planning.
Houston officials gathered on Thursday to go over security logistics before the ‘Stros take on the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Friday.
It takes a lot of collaboration to keep security in order as tens of thousands of fans are expected to flood downtown Houston and Minute Maid Park.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said there will be a large law enforcement presence downtown — with officers from multiple agencies.
He wouldn’t give a specific number, but said there will be a lot of officers present — more than enough to make sure the event is safe.
Finner said law enforcement will be posted at most major intersections, directing traffic.
He said the officers will be in uniforms and plain clothes.
“I don’t want to say anything negative about any fans that are coming here. But, we have standards here in the city, and we expect everyone to follow them. We want everyone to have fun, but if you get too rowdy, and especially what I’m talking about, if you go to assault somebody or whatnot, damage property, you’re going to go to jail,” Finner said. “That’s not just for Phillies fans. That’s for everybody. We just want a respectful, fun environment where people can talk a little bit of noise and have fun. And let’s see, may the best team win. Keep it respectful.”
In addition to the World Series, K-Pop group Blackpink will be performing downtown at the Toyota Center on Saturday and Sunday, which will only add to the already large crowds.
Houston is no stranger to big events — or the World Series.
Since hosting the World Series last year, law enforcement has had time to tweak things and review the things that did and didn’t work.
“This is nothing new to us, but every year we like to get better with our security and planning,” Finner said. The Astros have competed in the World Series four out of the past six years.
As we recently saw in the ALCS, the unexpected can happen quickly. A 27-year-old fan ran onto the field in Game 2 of the series in an effort to talk to and get a selfie with José Altuve. He was ultimately charged with criminal trespassing.
“It’s very serious when a spectator breaches that. It’s dangerous to our players. I want people to know that the Major League has banned that individual for life. He went to jail for trespassing,” Finner said. “They said that they are going to put additional security officers out there and police officers. And my ask was, put some athletic guys and ladies out there, okay? That’s a lot of ground to cover.”
Finner and Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña both advised fans to arrive early and pack their patience when it comes to traffic going in and out of downtown. They also reminded drivers to slow down and be considerate of pedestrians.
The police chief also had a warning about keeping valuable items in your car.
He said thousands of guns are stolen from vehicles in Houston every year, and since you can’t bring a firearm into Minute Maid Park, gunowners need to be sure to lock their weapons up at home before leaving for the game.