Major League Baseball recently rolled out new Fan Safety Recommendations and the Twins are complying by making Target Field a safer place to watch a game.
MLB regulations require teams to use protective netting in front of all seats between the dugouts within 70-feet of home plate, but the Twins are adding netting that will stretch beyond the required 70-feet within home plate all the way to end of each dugout. The netting above the dugouts will stretch seven-feet high.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is on record saying the risk of fans being injured by batted balls or bats flying into the stands is a "topic that is of serious concern."
In a statement, the Twins say the additional netting will be "minimally intrusive" to the fan experience.
“The Twins remain fully committed to delivering the best possible game day experience for our fans,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said. “In that spirit we have developed this plan aimed at enhancing fan safety while preserving the unique sightlines and accessibility of our ballpark. The Twins are proactively reaching out to season ticket holders most affected by these changes. We fully understand fans differ in relation to their opinions about sitting behind protective netting and will do our best to accommodate the varying preferences.”
Lower-level seats at Target Field are closer to the action than any other ballpark in the league.
The extra protection will certainly help keep fans safe, but it won't ensure all fans avoid foul balls. In 2014, ex-Twins infielder Nick Punto hit what seemed like a harmless chopper beyond the first-base dugout, but the ball bounced up and injured a fan anyway.
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