Thursday, December 17, 2015

Adding netting at Target Field

An injured fan is carried out of Fenway Park last season.
There were a number of frightening incidents during the past season of broken bats or line drives injuring fans sitting in the dugout areas. Last month, Commissioner Rob Manfred strongly encouraged teams to widen their netting to protect more fans. And this week the Twins announced that they would extend the backstop netting to behind the dugouts.

There is already pushback on social media from fans who don't want to be behind the screen. I understand that. I have been in behind-the-dugout seats in the past, and reveled in the proximity to the action.

But I've also seen fans bloodied by balls, and it wasn't a simple matter of "you gotta pay attention." The dugouts at Target Field are the closest to the field in the league. Some of the seats are closer to home plate than the infielders are. There is genuine danger that close, and most of us don't have the reflexes of a major league infielder.

And, you know, I've sat behind a backstop and netting before. It doesn't take long before you ignore it. Wider screens are wise.

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