TSA Watching for Mini Bats at MSP Airport as All-Star Fans Head Home

Updated: 07/16/2014 4:57 PM
Created: 07/16/2014 3:03 PM
By: Josh Rosenthal

With All-Star Game crowds heading for home, it's one of those days at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Roughly 35,000 travelers will fly out Wednesday. That's about 6,000 more than usual.

"So we bring in everybody we can," explained Cliff Van Leuven, the federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration in Minnesota. "We bring in overtime, we'll cancel training that we had scheduled for the day, cancel any meetings that we had for the day to make sure that everybody is face-to-face with the public."

But it's not just All-Star fans that are complicating matters. It's All-Star memorabilia too.

"Do you have a mini bat?," TSA Officer Kelly Barilla asked one passenger. He did, and that's a problem. Collectible mini bats may not look like a weapon, but that doesn't mean the TSA will let you carry one onto your flight.

"Whatever airline you're flying through," Barilla told the passenger, "you can go check it in a bag."

The passenger, Elijah Becker, decided to leave it behind.

"Just a couple bats, a couple bats from the All-Star Game for my kid," he said.

For John Roche, the bat wasn't a problem, at least not this time. He's now been to 21 straight All-Star Games. He too learned his lesson the hard way and hasn't made the same mistake since.

"You know they could be used as a knock-out weapon, I guess. It is what it is," he said. "You gotta abide by the rules."

As for Becker's bat that he decided to leave behind, TSA officers will put it in a bin in their property management office. It'll be donated to Minnesota Surplus Services, and eventually, it'll be put up for auction.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

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