Baseball’s Newest Gem Takes IP Video to the Ballgame

Stadium’s Security System Goes Beyond the Box Score
On the surface, baseball is a simple game — a pitcher throws a ball and a batter tries to hit it. But any baseball fan knows the game is much more nuanced and layered than that. In the same sense, a security system at a sporting venue has more purpose than just protecting the players and fans. In some cases, cameras will have the additional function of protecting a lead for the Cardinals.

In the process of installing the security cameras, installers also mounted a separate “coaching video system” of 10 cameras. It includes cameras in the bullpen to see if a warmed-up reliever is ready to come in, cameras in the batting cage below the seats so coaches can see if they have a hot bat ready to catch fire, and even cameras aimed at home plate so batters can see if the pitch they struck out on was actually a strike.

“There are going to be stations set up inside the clubhouse area where they can go and view what happened at their last at-bat,” says Kris Huels, senior project for the overall installation lead on the project, Sachs Electric Co.

Concessionaires — whether they’re selling hot dogs or foam “We’re Number One” foam fingers — are looking to video security to keep sellers and customers from pulling a fast one. Additionally, team lawyers want evidence to refute any fan trying to make the team liable for a slip and fall.

There’s also the difference between game day, where tens of thousands of people are occupying the building, and the few trolling the concourses when the team is out of town.

“You’ve got periods of time when the stadium is absolutely empty, so having camera surveillance to keep on eye on something is important for the same reason as when you’ve got 50,000 in your facility,” says Heisler. “Both warrant having the best possible video and surveillance available.”

Home Team at Root of Successful Security Installation
For a baseball team to be successful, it can’t have a weak link between batters one or nine, or a bad arm in the bullpen. Even if a team has a player with the home run prowess of Mark McGwire or the hitting ability of Stan Musial, it won’t be gunning for a pennant if all the players aren’t on the same page.

The team behind the security installation at Busch Stadium III was truly a home team, led by two St. Louis-based contractors with more than 130 years of experience between them. Aiding them was a local security consultant, a video security manufacturer and the Cardinals themselves. Their cohesiveness is the reason why such a complex CCTV system was ready before the first pitch at the new Busch.

Besides constant communication, the secret weapon for this team was that each player knew their role — in the same sense that a leadoff hitter knows how their job differs from the clean-up batter.

Serving as the overall electrical contractor was Sachs and its Sachs Systems subsidiary — fulfilling the same role it did when the second Busch Stadium was built four decades ago. Sachs performed most of the actual installation work, putting in the cabling, mounting the equipment and interconnecting it all to the rack rooms.

Will Electronics provided the video security equipment and acted as the direct liaison with the manufacturers, with a majority of the equipment coming from Panasonic Security Systems. Will also handled the integration and system software duties.

“All of us have been at this for a long time,” says Will. “There are a lot of Johnny-come-latelys in this business, but they selected a team with a lot of experience.”

Facility Control Systems served as the overall manager of the project and consultant for the Cardinals, trying to meet all the specified needs of Cardinals management and put the initial specifications together.

FCS’ Heisler says the installation team has proved to be a winning combination mainly because they stuck to a gameplan of making sure to communicate directly with each other daily.

“The logistics and the coordination and the phasing of the work from the installation perspective to material deployment has been a real challenging part of the stadium,” Heisler says. “It’s coordination with communication to make sure that everything was in there at the right point.”

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