January 06, 2017
Depending on your vantage point – and hopefully it’s one where you’re looking out for the safety of your friends and family – this is arguably the most encouraging news of the Phillies offseason: the team sent out a notice to season ticket holders on Friday to inform them that the organization will be expanding its protective netting for the upcoming season.
The eight-feet high netting will extend over the far ends of both the home and visiting dugouts at Citizens Bank Park.
“We think this is a reasonable step which will provide additional protection for our fans,” Mike Stiles, the Phillies executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement on Friday night. “We believe that we can do this without obstructing the views of any of our fans.”
In preparation for the new look and increased protection, the Phillies are “advising seasons ticket holders and inviting those affected” to take a look at the new netting when it is installed. The finished product is set to be completed before the end of the month.
Prior to last season, Major League Baseball finished a study by recommending that all teams lengthen their safety netting to shield fans from bats and balls that often leaving the playing surface and into the seats between the front end of each dugout and home plate. But many teams took it upon themselves to continue to monitor the safety of its fans during the 2016 season.
Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis was adamant about the need for more fan protection following an incident in August when he hit a foul ball into the crowd that sent a young girl to the hospital.
“We’re getting paid to play baseball and we watch the game behind a net. We’re in the dugout and we have a net. So why do the fans not have a net?” Galvis told reporters, including CSNPhilly.com, following a game in August. “You worry about it. Especially if you have a family. I have a baby two years old and yesterday I hit a little girl. I don’t want that to happen to my baby if I go to watch a game. … I think the Major Leagues these days should do a better job taking care of the fans. You have to take care of the people who give you the money. The fans give you the money.”
The Phillies will be doing that in 2017.