In an effort to provide increased safety for fans, the Twins announced today that they are further expanding their protective netting at Target Field for the 2018 season. The netting will now cover the entire Dugout Box sections (the sections surrounded by a moat) and will all be raised from seven feet to nine feet high.
More than half the teams in baseball had failed to expand protective netting at all by the 2017 season.
Though installing the extra netting hasn’t been required by MLB, the Twins have been exceedingly concerned about fan safety because Target Field features the closest seats to the batter’s box in all of baseball. In 2016, the Twins became the first team in MLB to extend the protective netting all the way to the end of the dugouts.
The new netting will reportedly be of very high quality to ensure it doesn’t obstruct fans’ views. Features include extreme thin strands tinted green, and knot-less intersections.
I used to be skeptical of expanded netting, but I was dumb. I’ve hardly noticed the already increased netting myself, even when sitting directly behind it (which isn’t that often). It’s, frankly, hardly noticeable and worth the trade off of protecting fans. Just think about the young girl at Yankee Stadium (where they have not increased protective netting at all) who was hit by a foul ball during a Twins-Yankees game last September. Members from both teams were seen praying and crying on the field as the game was stopped to tend to the girl. I’m all for helping prevent that stuff from happening again.
And for anyone who thinks the protective netting is getting out of control, here’s some food for thought: in NPB — a.k.a. Japanese Baseball — ptotective netting surrounds the entire field.