Braves To Debut Extended Netting At SunTrust Park During Playoffs
The Braves will begin their NLDS series against the Cardinals tomorrow with netting at SunTrust Park that now extends "to the foul poles," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The installation was done "while the team completed the regular season on the road last week." The Braves are among several teams that "decided in the past three months to extend the netting in their stadiums to or near the foul poles." Netting at the ballpark previously "ran from behind home plate to the far end of both dugouts" (ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION, 10/2).
OTHER NL TEAMS: In Philadelphia, Rob Tornoe reported the Phillies "plan to expand the safety netting" at Citizens Bank Park ahead of the '20 season. An NBC News report had "quoted the Phillies as saying the new netting would extend to the foul poles," but the team "didn’t fully commit to that." A Phillies spokesperson said, "The logistics of that extension will dictate how far the new netting will go" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/2). The Nationals earlier this season extended their netting to the foul poles, and TBS' Ernie Johnson during last night's NL Wild Card game said, "Something I do love about Nationals Park -- here's one of two in the bigs with protective netting all the way down on both the right and left field sides. Make things as safe as possible for fans" ("Nationals-Brewers," TBS, 10/1).
BY FAIR MEANS OR FOUL: NBC NEWS' Tak, Nguyen, Enoch & Lehren conducted an investigation into fans hurt by baseballs at MLB ballparks and noted there were "at least 808 reports of injuries to fans from baseballs" from '12-19. Most of the injuries came from foul balls, though home runs, batting practice and scrambling to "catch balls flying into the stands" also caused some. The total number was determined from "lawsuits, news reports, social media postings and information from the contractors that provide first aid stations" at MLB venues (NBCNEWS.com, 10/1). NBC's Vicky Nguyen, one of the report's co-authors, noted the reluctance of teams to extend netting is "not about the cost, it's more the fan experience." Nguyen: "Some fans are worried about it blocking their view or maybe not being able to catch those balls." White Sox Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Brooks Boyer, whose team was one of the first this season to extend netting to the foul poles, said, "We haven't heard any complaints." However, he did indicate some people have said, "I miss that interaction with the players" ("Today," NBC, 10/1).