SBD/April 5, 2016/MLB Season Preview

MLB's New Safety Netting At Ballparks Gets Positive Reviews From Both Fans, Players

A fan injury at Fenway Park last year prompted the safety measures
Globe Life Park, as well as many other MLB ballparks, debuted new safety netting yesterday, and the "overall response from fans sitting in the first 20 rows behind each dugout was positive," according to Stefan Stevenson of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The netting, "especially the farther back you’re sitting, is a non-issue for most." In fact, after a "few minutes viewing the game from 20 rows back behind the visitor’s dugout, the netting seemingly disappears" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/5). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes most players would say that the netting added around MLB is the "most beautiful sight" of the '16 season. Red Sox P David Price: "I’m definitely happy to see Major League Baseball make that adjustment. Everybody has seen bad incidents. I couldn’t imagine being a hitter that hits a screaming foul ball that hits somebody, especially a kid or a small child. That’s not something you want to be part of." He added, "Fans may not like it as much at first, but it’s not like you’re going to miss anything because of the net" (USA TODAY, 4/5). 

CHEW ON THAT: In Newark, Jonathan Salant reports U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) marked Opening Day by "calling for a ban on smokeless tobacco" in all MLB ballparks. Pallone urged both MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark to "ban smokeless tobacco on the field and in the dugout" following similar legislation in N.Y., Boston, Chicago, L.A. and S.F. (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/5). In Boston, Bob McGovern writes it "appears that no one really knows" how Boston Mayor Martin Walsh's anti-tobacco ordinance "will be enforced." Red Sox players are "on notice that they shouldn't be packing lips at Fenway Park, and that there is some city ordinance that says so." But what "no one seems to know is who is going to enforce the rule, how it will be enforced, and whether players and fans will be treated equally" if caught (BOSTON HERALD, 4/5). 
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