After extending protective netting to cover the entire seating bowl, the Kane County Cougars (Low A; Midwest League) are reporting positive results from the project.
Prior to the 2019 season, the Cougars announced a drastic overhaul to the protective netting at Northwest Medicine Field. New netting was installed to run the entire length of the seating bowl, covering sections 103-118. Upon announcing the project in March, the Cougars indicated that the decision to cover the entire seating bowl came after considerable research.
“This is a project that we have been researching and discussing for months,” Cougars vice president and general manager Curtis Haug said in a press statement at the time. “We know the expansion of the protective netting will not only increase the visual experience for fans, but also peace of mind for families visiting the ballpark.”
Months after that project was completed, the Cougars report that they are happy with the results. Notably, the team says that feedback from fans has been largely positive, and the decision to extend netting has been appreciated by players. More from NBCChicago.com:
Haug said that he’s gotten mostly positive feedback on the new netting from fans, and also from players who no longer have to worry about a scorching line drive off of their bats potentially injuring fans in the stands.
“It’s the best thing we have done in a long time,” he said.
The team said that the extended netting cost approximately $80,000, and Haug said that the new net is stronger, and thinner, than previous iterations of the material.
Extended netting projects have taken place at numerous ballparks in recent years, with many resulting in netting covering the end of each dugout, but calls for teams to provide further protection have grown louder since a young girl was injured by a foul ball at Houston’s Minute Maid Park last month. The effects of this are already being noticed around Major League Baseball, as the Chicago White Sox announced this week that protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field will be extended from foul pole to foul pole. Discussions about extended netting at the major-league level could end up having implications on other levels of baseball, making the results of the Cougars’ extended netting project all more the notable.
Image courtesy Kane County Cougars.
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