Leading off for the Yankees in 2018: Fan safety.
The details of the expanded netting at Yankee Stadium – championed by the Daily News and city councilman Rafael Espinal – were made public by the team Wednesday.
The Yankees finally caved to mounting pressure when they announced in October that more protective netting would be put in place in time for the start of the 2018 season.
Now we get the details.
The netting, which will be partially retractable, will be attached to the roofs of both dugouts and stationary netting will extend beyond the far ends of the dugouts toward the foul poles.
A young girl was seriously injured by a line drive during a Sept. 20 game at Yankee Stadium last season.
The height of the net above each dugout will be nine feet during games. The bottom portion of the nets above the dugouts will be able to be lifted up to three feet so that fans can still interact with players during batting practice.
More from the Yankees press release:
Beyond the dugout, netting will extend to Section 011 on the first-base side and Section 029 on the third-base side. The netting in these locations will rise to eight feet above the playing field (approximately 5.5 feet above the wall surrounding the field of play), and will remain in place from the start of batting practice through the end of the game.
Although several teams – including the Mets at Citi Field have expanded the netting – the Yankees were slow to react. The cries for more fan safety intensified last September when a toddler was struck by a 105-mph line drive off the bat of Yankees slugger Todd Frazier.
The 2018 Yankee Stadium seating map illustrates the expanded protective netting.
(New York Yankees)
The girl, who was almost 2 at the time, suffered facial fractures, bleeding on the brain and an imprint from the ball’s stiches on her forehead, per her father. At the time the young fan was hurt the Yankees’ netting ended at the home plate side of each dugout. She was sitting with her father in the lower level on the third-base side during the Sept. 20 game against the Twins.
She spent five days at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia her father, Geoffrey Jacobson, told the New York Times last October.
The Mets opted to add the extra netting prior to the first home game after last season’s All-Star break.
“I think fan safety, right now with all the things that are happening, should be very, very high,” manager Terry Collins said before the July 14 game vs. the Rockies. “I will tell you that when my family comes to a game, home or away, they don’t ever sit in the open. Those balls are too fast, these guys hit the ball too hard.”
The Mets introduced the newest addition to Citi Field prior to their first game after the All-Star break.
(New York Daily News)
MLB commish Rob Manfred has still not made extra protective netting mandatory for all teams, leaving the decision up to the individual clubs. The Mets became the 10th team to add netting to the far ends of the dugout.
Espinal was pushing a bill last summer that would make it law that all ballparks in New York (minor and major league) would have to extend netting all the way to each foul pole.
The Yankees said the extra netting will be the same material used for the Stadium’s backstop netting last season. All netting will be “field green” to “minimize its visible impact for those in attendance and viewers watching on television.”
The installation of the new netting will begin next month. The Yankees announced a similar protective netting system for their spring training stadium George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Source: Ny Daily News