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Somerset Patriots to Extend Protective Netting at TD Bank Ballpark

The Somerset Patriots have now joined the trend of professional baseball teams expanding the protective netting at their ballparks.

The club announced Wednesday morning that they would extend the netting beyond the dugouts and down the foul lines. The new netting will stretch to section 122 on the third base side and to section 121 on the first base side. This is the second time the Patriots have extended the netting at TD Bank Ballpark since 2017.

“In listening to our fans, and following the excellent example set by Major League Baseball, we have decided it is the right time to extend the netting at the ballpark,” said Somerset Patriots Chairman Emeritus Steve Kalafer in a statement. “Our goal will always be to provide our fans with the very best experience in our clean and safe ballpark.”

The project is being done by Sportsfield Specialties, who also extended the netting for the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, and Baltimore Orioles.

“We are very excited for the new netting at the ballpark,” said Somerset Patriots Co-Chairman Josh Kalafer. “As we look forward to our next 20 years, updates to the ballpark and the overall fan experience will be necessary to help us constantly improve, while continuing to provide the highest possible level of customer service to our customers. We believe fans will really love what we have in store.”

It is certainly a good move for the Patriots to extend the netting to enhance the safety of fans, and especially young children. One of the most frightening examples of the dangers of hard foul balls entering the stands took place last May at Minute Maid Park in Houston when a screaming line drive off the bat of Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. hit a 2-year-old girl in the head, causing a skull fracture and seizure.

Can any amount of netting protect all fans from injuries caused by foul balls? Of course not. However, expanding protective netting down each foul line is certainly a good way to limit such dangers.

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