NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Th e Commissioner’s Office has recommended that clubs add netting to protect fans from foul balls.
Clubs have been “encouraged” to add or keep netting from between the closest ends of the dugouts and within 70 feet of home plate.
Teams have also been encouraged to further educate their fans about the dangers of foul balls. Teams already provide warnings about foul balls.
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Clubs and online ticket sellers are seeking ways to notify ticket buyers which seats are under netting.
“Major League Baseball prides itself on providing fans in our ballparks with unparalleled proximity and access to our players and the game taking place on the field. At the same time, it is important that fans have the option to sit behind protective netting or in other areas of the ballpark where foul balls and bats are less likely to enter. This recommendation attempts to balance the need for an adequate number of seating options with our desire to preserve the interactive pre-game and in-game fan experience that often centers around the dugouts, where fans can catch foul balls, see their favorite players up close and, if they are lucky, catch a tossed ball or other souvenir,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“I am confident that this recommendation will result not only in additional netting at Major League ballparks but also draw additional attention to the need for fans who make the choice not to sit behind netting to be prepared for the possibility of foul balls and bats entering the stands.”
NOTE: Graham McNamee, a broadcast pioneer who called the World Series from 1923-34, was named as the Ford C. Frick award winner. He’ll enter the Hall of Fame in July.