The Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A; Carolina League) are unveiling extended netting at Frawley Stadium. Installation of the netting, which now runs to the end of both dugouts, was completed last week.
The Blue Rocks employed Empire Netting to spearhead the project. They in turn used dyneema netting technology, which is Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, known in the industry as the ultimate in reliability and visibility. The fiber is used in many applications from bullet-proof vests and military applications to fishing lines, marine ropes and sports products.
“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of Blue Rocks fans,” said the team’s managing partner Dave Heller. “Consequently, extending the netting was an easy decision for us. This will help parents to enjoy the game without the stress of worrying about the well-being of their children, while at the same time not impacting the great sightlines and intimate setting of Blue Rocks baseball.”
In February, Major League Baseball announced all 30 teams would extend protective netting to at least the end of each dugout at every MLB ballpark. Commissioner Rob Manfred stated, “This recommendation attempts to balance the need for an adequate number of seating options with our desire to preserve the interactive pregame and in-game fan experience that often centers around the dugouts, where fans can catch foul balls, see their favorite players up close and, if they are lucky, catch a tossed ball or other souvenir.”
Numerous clubs at the minor league level have also announced plans to extended fan safety netting by the start of the 2018 season. More of our coverage on extended netting can be found here.
In Wilmington, the extended netting is just one of many new upgrades to Frawley Stadium over the last three-plus years. Main Street Baseball and the Blue Rocks continue to enhance the team’s home in order to maintain its status as one of the premier ballparks in Minor League Baseball.
Last week, the Blue Rocks became the first Advanced-A team in Minor League Baseball to install new LED field lights in their ballpark. The new system, built by Musco Lighting, provides unprecedented illumination to Judy Johnson Field, its concourse and seating areas, and drastically reduces the team’s energy output. Musco is using its Total Light Control—TLC for LED technology which pairs its expertise in light control with the advancing output of LED to conserve large amounts of energy. This new system leads to a brighter field with less glare and less light pollution. That makes it better for players, fans, and, most important, the environment.
Prior to last season, the Blue Rocks and the Delaware Stadium Corporation (DSC) worked with Delmarva Power to complete an LED conversion of the parking lot lights at Frawley Stadium. In 2016, M.J. Bradley Flooring and the architectural firm Ewing Cole collaborated to install new flooring on the concourse and restrooms, which provided better and safer footing. In 2015, the DSC installed all new seats, replacing aluminum bleachers with new individual seats with armrests and cupholders.