The Mets have announced they will be implementing additional protective netting at Citi Field.
The additional netting will span down the left and right field foul lines and cover an area three times larger then the existing netting. The new protecting netting will be installed after the All-Star break and in use for all home games starting July 14. Along with expanding the 30-foot netting by four sections on each side of home plate, the team is also installing eight-foot netting that spans two sections further down both foul lines.
The Mets also said any new netting will utilize “enhanced technology that increases transparency and is 97% invisible.”
So what’s the reason?
“Your safety,” the Mets said in their release. “The decision to proceed with these enhancements follows diligent exploration and study with MLB over the past two seasons. Fan safety continues to be our top priority and using this technology will offer state-of-the-art protection for our fans while minimizing the impact on their viewing experience.”
NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal praised the team’s decision.
“My sincerest applause goes to the New York Mets for taking this big step in extending protective netting at all of their ballparks,” Espinal said. “So many families and fans will be kept safe because of this bold action. The Mets have been engaged and willing to work with me throughout this process. They truly proved that they are willing to play ball and go above and beyond on behalf of their fans.”
Injuries by batted balls and thrown bats have become a subject of increasing concern over recent years across Major League Baseball.
In early May, two fans at a game in San Diego were struck by a thrown bat, including hitting one woman in the head.
And in the summer of 2015, a fan was hit in the head by a foul ball at Fenway Park during a Yankees-Red Sox match, prompting manager Joe Girardi to voice his safety concerns.
“Man, I worry all the time about people getting hit,” Girardi said. “I mean, it’s dangerous and when I see kids, I have a fit. I know – it’s the view. But people pay a lot of money to sit behind a screen at home (plate). Just extend it.”
It seems the Mets will be joining other MLB teams, such as the Phillies, in doing just that. The organization is also expanding protective netting in the stadiums of many of its minor league affiliates, including the Brooklyn Cyclones and both the Kingsport and St. Lucie Mets. Plans for similar expansion for their Double-A affiliate, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, are currently in discussion.