New baseball netting recommendations will be rolled out by the Major League Baseball (MLB) at the start of the 2016 season. Although this offers fans some protection, it is clearly not enough. Several instances of spectators being injured by foul balls at MLB games in 2015 led the sports body to take steps to improve safety in the ballpark. Many venues previously replaced the old cyclone fence with netting to provide watchers with a clearer view of the action.
A New York Times article at the end of last year outlined some of the changes announced by Commissioner Rob Manfred. As per the new policy:
Baseball teams are encouraged to extend protective netting behind the home plate by 70 feet or so down the foul lines, to the near ends of both dugouts
Teams must find ways to educate fans about the dangers of sitting too close
Teams and ticket vendors must also make clear to the fans which seats are protected at the time of ticket sales
Despite these changes, some sports enthusiasts are of the opinion that the new policy will make little impact. For one, the recommended extension of the baseball net does not reduce the danger of fans being hit, as many foul balls land beyond the dugouts. Secondly, the MLB is simply “encouraging”, not insisting that teams follow the new guidelines. Also, there is no unifying standard for the new policy. The good news is that teams value their fans, and many are actively taking their own measures to improve fan safety.
Advantages of Baseball Nets
The versatility of these protective nets makes them worth every penny that you spend. From protection for spectators during a game to making more of your practice sessions, they are a worthwhile investment.
Where the nets are placed is critical in home and minor league games when parents, friends and other spectators often stand close and unprotected. Overhead netting also reduces the risk of spectator injuries in areas where parks or fields are located close to each other and foul balls may come at you from another game. The net can be attached to backstop poles and to a nearby building or concession stand for full coverage. The same netting when attached vertically to poles (instead of overhead) can save retrieval time (and loss of balls) by preventing balls from travelling on to another field or far away during practice sessions.
Choose good-quality baseball netting to avoid frequent breaks and tears. It not only increases the risk of injuries but also the cost of supplies. Look for heavy-duty premium 2XT nylon baseball net. It is a popular choice of teams and facility managers because it is tough and lasts for years.