With the protective netting extended at Citi Field well past the dugouts, some New York Mets fans are bemoaning the lack of potential in landing a foul ball — while players and other fans are happy to be watching the game under an additional layer of protection.
Let’s face it: one of the big thrills for many Mets fans is the potential of landing a foul ball at a home game. But the new netting at Citi Field cuts down on that potential now that the new netting at Citi Field has been installed, running down the line far past the dugouts. The addition of netting at any ballpark is always a contentious issue: parents and players are always happy for the protection and are amazed fans want to be exposed to possible injury from a potential foul ball.
It’s a contentious issue, and MLB has left the final decisions on extended netting to teams, albeit with some recommendations. The Mets acted pretty aggressively, but it’s not a bad move. Today’s netting is stronger and finer than in previous generations of netting (in particular, the knots — which can be more distracting than the actual netting — are smaller than in previous versions), and it’s really easy for fans to adjust to the netting after a short period. But New York being New York, some fans are using the occasion to vent, as well as supporting the team. From The New York Times:
“I will tell you that when my family comes to the game, home or away, they don’t ever sit in the open,” [Manager Terry] Collins said. “Those balls come too fast, and these guys hit the ball too hard.”
And yet, it appears there are some fans who prefer the way it used to be, when netting had much less of a footprint in a baseball stadium.
“Honestly, I don’t think we’ll come back to these seats,” said one fan last week as he sat with his 10-year-old daughter just behind the concrete wall in short left field. “The net is in the way. It’s annoying,” added the fan, who asked that his name not be used….
Other fans felt differently.
“I don’t even see it,” Frank Messina of Montville, N.J., said of the new netting, which he sat behind in seats just beyond the end of the visitors’ dugout. “And the good thing is, I know I can’t get hit with a foul ball.”
One thing about fans who swear they’ll never return because of something like extended netting: they usually return.
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