After the horrifying incident at Yankee Stadium recently where a young girl was hit by a foul ball, calls were made for additional netting at other ballparks, including Wrigley Field.
Last week I was one of those calling for extended nets, and Tuesday, Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney told the Bernstein and Goff show on 670 The Score that the Cubs would be adding 30 feet of netting to Wrigley for 2018:
“Our goal is to create a safe environment,” Kenney said. “One of the things that will be happening next year is we move the dugouts a little farther down the line as part of our restoration plan, which we’ve talked about for years. The netting will get pulled a little farther toward the foul poles as a result of the dugouts moving. We’ve studied the spray charts for where the balls are heading and obviously, we’ve been pulling the nets further and further along from where they were.”
“Today phones and other things are distractions in the ballpark that didn’t exist (in past eras). So adding the netting as we have recently and as we will again this offseason makes sense. Safety is No. 1 for us. The players are in favor of pulling the nets. We’re going to do it to a degree. We’re studying it — even today, we had a meeting about whether we should go even further than we plan on going. But there will be more netting next year when folks come into the ballpark.”
This is a good idea and I commend the Cubs for acting quickly and decisively on this topic. Kenney added that the Cubs would consider extending the nets even further in the future. The nets will be added along with the other renovation work the Cubs will begin immediately after this season ends — hopefully, that’s again not until early November!
When I posted on this topic last week the discussion got a bit contentious. I ask only that people be respectful of each other’s opinions, even if yours are strong on this issue.
From a personal standpoint, I attended the Cubs/Mets games in the Tokyo Dome in 2000. All stadiums in Japan have netting from foul pole to foul pole. The nets, in my view, don’t interfere with anyone’s enjoyment of the game. You might say at first, “Hm, there are nets here!” After that, you really don’t even notice they’re in place. The same thing exists at NHL games, where nets cover pretty much the entire seating area.
This is a good thing for baseball and I’m glad teams are taking fan safety seriously.