Kansas City Royals and the Minnesota Twins will officially become the first two teams to install protective netting over the dugouts at Kauffman Stadium and Target Field.
The netting was a hot topic of discussion among Major League Baseball and its organizations this offseason. Here we are in late February and it looks like we will see just two ball clubs roll out the first versions of this protective netting.
In a statement on their website, Kansas City Royals SVP of Business Operations Kevin Uhlich said the following.
We took a lot of different scenarios into consideration regarding the addition of netting at Kauffman Stadium, because we know that our fans take different approaches as they decide what they want their Royals’ experience to be, MLB engaged an outside source to evaluate all MLB stadiums and make recommendations for additional netting, and our plan exceeds all of those recommendations. We encourage any fans who may be affected by this change to reach out to their ticket account representative.
“The Twins commend MLB and Commissioner [Rob] Manfred for their leadership on this critical issue and the completion of a thorough analysis in consultation with all 30 clubs. It’s our intent to follow MLB’s recommendations regarding fan safety netting as well as an incremental focus on educating fans regarding the dangers posed by batted balls and bats entering the stands.”
Major League Baseball was the first to recommend that MLB parks include this protective netting along the dugouts. You can see in the photo above what the netting should look like. To me, it doesn’t seem intrusive at all. A common argument against the netting is that it will take away from the viewing experience and devalue what many believe to be the best seats in the house right over the dugout. I don’t believe that to be true. The best seats in the house have always been right behind home plate where they’ve had nets forever.
NHL also took the lead years ago installing more protective netting above the glass behind the goals. Nobody complains anymore, but there are considerably less people getting their teeth knocked out from the stands at a hockey game.
Say what you want about “pay attention to the game and we won’t need nets for protection,” but there is no preparing for a line drive like this to the front row over the dugout.