PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - The Pirates announced Friday that they are extending the protective netting at both PNC Park and LECOM Park in Bradenton, where the Pirates play their Spring Training Games.
The netting will stretch almost the entire length of the first and third base foul lines at both parks.
It will go from section 1 on the first base lane all the way to section 32 on the third base line.
The Pirates say this will “allow for a safer viewing environment.
“The netting expansion provides even more options for fans to sit close to the action along the baselines without concern for their safety and that of their family and friends,” said Pirates President Travis Williams. “While we understand it will be an adjustment from what we are all accustomed to, fan safety has to be a top priority, as is maintaining a direct connection between our players and our fans. We believe that we were able to accomplish both with our netting design.”
Areas of the netting will be open before games so fans can get autographs and meet players prior to the start of the game.
The Netting at LECOM will extent from the foul pole to foul pole.
In 2017, the Pirates were one of the first teams in the MLB to extent the netting from the end of the home dugout to the end of the visiting dugout
The netting will be in place Saturday for the beginning of Grapefruit League play and at PNC Park for Opening Day.
The move comes after growing concerns over the past couple seasons for fan safety.
Spectators were being injured by foul balls and in some cases dying.