In a change to Haley Toyota Field for 2018, the Salem Red Sox (High A; Carolina League) have extended the ballpark’s protective netting. Installation has been completed in time for the team’s home opener on April 5 against the Buies Creek Astros.
Netting now reaches the far end of the dugout on both the first- and third-base sides of the diamond. The Sox have also upgraded to Dyneema rope for the netting, with individual strands only 18 mm in diameter. The new netting material is thinner and finer while still maintaining good visibility for fans.
“There is nothing more important to us than fan safety,” said Ryan Shelton, Red Sox President and General Manager. “As our athletes become stronger and balls have greater velocity off the bat, there have been some scary moments in recent years.
“Taking a cue from Major League Baseball and our parent club at Fenway Park, we chose to take the step of extending our netting to protect the reserved seats above both dugouts and down the lines.”
Leading up to the 2018 season, numerous clubs in the affiliated minor league and independent ranks will be extending the protective netting at their ballparks. More of our coverage on extended netting can be found here.