After installing it prior to this season, the New York Yankees have made changes to the extended netting at Yankee Stadium.
In previous seasons, there had been calls for teams around Major League Baseball–including the Yankees–to extend the protective netting at their ballparks. Those calls were amplified after a young girl was severely struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium last September, and the Yankees ultimately became one of many teams around professional baseball to announce extended netting plans for 2018.
The extended netting at Yankee Stadium was designed to run all the way down the line, but be retractable at the dugouts to give fans the opportunity to interact with players before games. Some early-season feedback about the netting included complaints about obstructions caused by its support poles, and Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner was among those that took notice of the problem. That prompted the Yankees to make an early-season adjustment to their netting that included getting rid of the obstructions caused by the poles. More from The New York Times:
As a result, when the Yankees returned from a trip on April 16, the poles were gone, replaced by a steel cable that suspends the netting from above and eliminates the obstruction created by 11 padded black poles.
According to the Yankees’ chief operating officer, Lonn Trost, who oversaw the design and construction of the netting, Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, objected to the poles when he visited the stadium just before the start of the season.
“Hal wanted to do something better for the fans, both from a safety aspect and the enhance their viewing of the game,” said Trost, who acknowledged, “We also heard from a fan or two.”
The new cables were installed during the Yankees’ seven-day trip to Boston and Detroit and were in place for the start of the 10-game homestand that concluded with a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
As noted there were many teams across professional baseball–from the majors, to the affiliated minor leagues, to the independent ranks–that installed extended netting prior to the 2018 season. Given the influx of new netting projects that have taken shape, it will be interesting to see whether other teams find themselves taking the Yankees’ approach in making some early adjustments based on fan feedback. More of our coverage on extended netting can be found here.
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