The Akron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League) are extending Canal Park protective netting to the foul poles, with a partially-retractable section at the end of each dugout to allow for fan-player interaction. This project for 2020 comes after the team extended the nets to the far end of each dugout in 2018.
The new netting will extend from both foul poles down each foul line with a partially-retractable section at the end of each dugout (section 20 beyond the home dugout and section 6 beyond the away dugout) where players and fans can easily interact and sign autographs. The net itself is an Ultra Cross Knotless Dyneema Ball Safety System Net. This netting system is designed specifically to have minimal impact on viewing due to its thin material, green color, and knotless construction.
“Part of our mission in creating an atmosphere of affordable, family fun means that we need to keep everyone in our ballpark safe,” said RubberDucks General Manager Jim Pfander. “Extending the netting to each foul pole ensures that our fans can enjoy all the great things a RubberDucks game at Canal Park has to offer without having to worry about safety. I want to thank the City of Akron, and specifically Mayor Dan Horrigan, for their partnership and proactiveness in helping us keep our fans safe while attending games at Canal Park.”
The nets will extend to a height of 37’ directly behind home plate and slope toward the end of each dugout where the nets are 33’ high. This netting configuration is billed as offering 95% spectator visibility and follows the Cleveland Indians’ announcement last month of Progressive Field extending safety netting. Installation is being performed by Promats Athletics from Salisbury, North Carolina, and has begun at Canal Park with the expectation of completion before the RubberDucks’ pre-season workouts at Canal Park prior to their Season Opener at Binghamton on April 9.
The project is being completed in partnership with the City of Akron.
“We are pleased to support the Akron RubberDucks through an investment into extended netting at Canal Park,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “Owner Ken Babby and the entire leadership team at Canal Park offer an exceptional family-friendly experience for fans of all ages, and this investment will only enhance that.”
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