MLB to Have Protective Netting in Ballparks | Bonehead Picks

MLB to Have Protective Netting in All Ballparks

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The 2018 MLB season will witness a change for the better in regards to fan safety.

Ken Rosenthal tweeted out on early Thursday morning that Major League Baseball has officially mandated for all ball clubs to have protective netting installed to at least the end of the dugouts to avoid bats and balls flying into the crowd at ridiculous speeds.

The New York Mets and other teams implemented this last season after a major increase in fan injuries from batted balls and occasionally a bat that flew into the stands.

It is a great implementation for fan safety.

However, there are a few less important concerns that I need to address that many are overlooking.

Many times, fans are actually not even paying attention to the games and are on their phones. With the smart phone being in the possession of so many who can’t let it go, fans are often glued to their phones, which puts them in harm’s way. How can a fan protect themselves if they don’t even know what is going on?

Some at Citi Field last season (including myself) complained to staff that the netting actually makes it more difficult to enjoy the game. What I mean by that is not necessarily my view being blocked, because I can still see everything. The problem is when you stare through a net consistently for three hours and aren’t on your phone constantly, it actually hurts your eyes. I remember after about 20 minutes or so of consecutively looking through the net, my eyes began to throb and it became agitating to deal with, forcing me to sit in the promenade level for the remainder of the game and the remaining games I attended last season. Just for reference sake, I attended 26 Mets games in the 2017 season.

Then there’s another factor which often gets overlooked but isn’t that important for an adult such as myself.

Player access.

During batting practice, for many years, players were very interactive with fans who waited behind the dugout, down the foul lines and over by the camera wells.

In recent years, with the rise of companies such as Steiner, Fanatics, Panini, etc. some players refuse to sign autographs for fans because they are “under contract” or will refuse just for the mere fact they have become surly. I have even seen some players refuse to sign for anyone who wasn’t a kid because the person had an item to get signed that they were apparently trying to sell.

The point I am trying to make here before I go completely off topic, is stating that players were already looking for excuses to not sign autographs and interact with fans. Not all of course, but a good amount that continues to rise.

With these nets in place, unless you have loads of money and connections for on-field passes or are willing to drop $200 to meet Aaron Judge (that number may even be too low), it eliminates the whole personal experience fans have had with the game of baseball all of these years.

No player is going to run over to a net and ask fans to toss balls over it to sign them. No player is going to run to the corner of the outfield and try and sign autographs for the fans who are not blocked by a net (unless it is Pat Neshek, one of the nicest human beings ever).

The nets will just be an excuse to eliminate pretty much all interaction and it is a crying shame.

At least give the kids an opportunity to still get some autographs or take a selfie with players. Have designated kids areas so they can enjoy themselves even more. A kid will always remember a great day at the ball park.

At the end of it all, it is for the safety of the fans to make sure all precautions are taken.

Just wish people would stop looking at their phones while a game is going on.


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