Even though netting recommendations in MLB ballparks for 2016 weren’t mandated for Minor League Baseball teams, several MiLB clubs have announced changes for next season.
For instance, the Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League) announced new netting is in the works for Durham Bulls Athletic Park, with new 35-foot-high nets running the length of each dugout, in addition to the area behind home plate. No seat at the DBAP will be covered overhead by netting. The Bulls has been working on 2016 changes before MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s announcement of the netting recommendations at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville.
“Fan safety is of the utmost importance to us,” Bulls General Manager Mike Birling said. “We want our fans to feel safe at the DBAP, but we also realize there are fans who do not want to watch a game from behind a net. We believe this layout, as recommended by Major League Baseball, allows our fans to select seats that fit the needs and wants of their families.”
Similarly, the Iowa Cubs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) announced new netting for the 2016 season at Principal Park. “For years, about a third of our fans have been watching games from behind netting, and it’s clear the netting does not interfere with the enjoyment of the game,” said Sam Bernabe, president and general manager of the I-Cubs. “In fact, most people forget the net is even there.”
Bernabe said that if some season-ticket holders object, the I Cubs will find them seats farther down the foul lines. “But I doubt anyone will object,” he added.
He said the move was being made as part of the continuing upgrade of the stadium. He also said the expanded netting and its installation would cost the Iowa Cubs around $100,000.
Rendering of Durham Bulls Athletic Park netting changes courtesy Durham Bulls.
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