This morning at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, MLB announced recommendations to enhance fan safety at all 30 MLB ballparks.
After several months of study, Commissioner Rob Manfred has recommended that all ballparks expand backstop netting to cover seats within a 70-foot radius of home plate, or from dugout to dugout (if they fall within the 70-foot radius).
The Mariners have already been working with a consultant to come up with design options. Season ticketholders whose seats will be affected by the changes will be contacted directly.
In addition, the Commissioner is recommending that Clubs do more to warn fans about the dangers of foul balls and bats. At Safeco Field, there are already warning signs posted in several locations and public address announcements pregame. We’ll be working on some ideas to do more to educate fans going forward. MLB will also be working with the teams and our online ticket partners to provide more information to fans at the point of sale about which seats are (and aren’t) behind the new netting.
Coincidentally, the Mariners had already planned to replace the netting behind home plate for 2016. Netting material has improved a lot over the last several years and it will not only be safe, but also improve the fan viewing experience.
The Mariners and MLB take fan safety very seriously. These recommendations will improve fan safety while still preserving what many fans say they like best about sitting close to the field—the chance to catch a foul ball and interact with players.