The protective netting at the Dow Diamond will be extended, as the Great Lakes Loons (Low A; Midwest League) have announced the project.
The netting will be installed from the span of August 15-August 21, and will run from sections 103 to 112, covering the ends of both dugouts. C & H Baseball in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., will install the enhanced netting.
“We have been researching, engineering, and planning for this since December when Minor and Major League Baseball recommended increased netting to further protect fans from balls and bats entering the stands during game action,” Loons General Manager Scott Litle said. “There are more and more distractions every day that pull our fans attention from the game. With these distractions coupled with the increased speed of the game, we felt it was best to extend the netting, enhance fan safety and make their time at the ballpark more enjoyable.”
With the new structure planned for the same height of the current netting, the existing structure will be getting replaced, as well. In all, netting will stretch from dugout to dugout. With these actions, the Loons are following many other teams in the Midwest League and throughout other levels of baseball in protecting a greater number of fans and workers during games.
“Minor League Baseball is very appreciative of the time and effort that went into the research done by Major League Baseball in an effort to balance fan safety and the overall fan experience,” Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner said in December 2015. “Minor League Baseball clubs strive to offer safe, family-friendly facilities for our fans and these recommendations will help ensure the safety of those fans sitting close to the action.”
“We wholeheartedly endorse these recommendations made by Major League Baseball in regard to the protective netting in our ballparks and encourage our clubs to implement these recommendations as soon as practical.”
The net is fashioned into small square meshes with knots and treated with Carbon Black Net Dip. The expectation is visibility looking through the new net will be better than the old.
“We have worked with C & H Baseball to maximize the visibility with the new netting being thinner than the current netting behind home plate at 1.1 mm in diameter,” Litle said. “We do understand that while the new netting will keep the fans safer, it can limit some of the interaction with the players. We will be working to find new and creative ways to limit that separation.”
If fans have any questions about the project, they can contact the Loons front office at 989-837-2255.
Image courtesy of the Great Lakes Loons.