There have been many injuries to young kids recently who are fans of the game. This has prompted a burst of stories and ideas about improving fan safety at MLB games. Baseball is a great pastime but fans should also be safe as well with legalities and liabilities aside. But we all know, it’s often not that easy.
At any level above college the balls goes very high speeds. There are many studies regarding how quickly a batter has time to react to a 100 mph fastball. Some studies suggest a hitter has just 0.412 seconds. The speed of that same pitch leaving the bat is even faster. This means that fans have even less time to react to a ball coming towards them. Especially since they are not playing there are more distractions in place making them ill-prepared for the off chance a screaming ball is flying towards them.
Here are 5 things to consider:
1. Protect ALL seating areas. A very important aspect is to protect ALL seating areas. At minimum, protect down the foul line where any spectators may sit. Ideally the protection would extend all the way to the foul poles. If at all possible while you want to protect your fans you also want to not obstruct their view of the game to give them the best of both worlds. Don’t forget about surrounding activities. Think of street traffic, or nearby playgrounds, in which you might want higher and longer netting. In a more rural setting you may need less if you are near a farm or so forth.
2. Factor in Weather Conditions. Is your area in a spot where hurricanes or snowstorms are common? You will want to protect your investment by making sure you can protect your fans long term. A winch system maybe something that you need to raise and lower the netting easily and at a face pace. Netting engineered to handle your weather elements will save your assets and repair costs.
3. Looks matter. Ballfields are a reflection of the place they are in. They can be a source of price, where communities come together, where people come together. So providing a safe, unobstructed view is ideal and has a great impact on the overall perception of the park. No one wants to go watch a game and be stuck behind a 12’ pole.
4. Cost Consideration. If not done right, installation of the protective netting can be more than the materials themselves. Compare which system works best for your facility. Some less expensive netting maybe more expensive to install and vice versa. Be informed and do your research of all associated material and installation cost before making a decision.