In some respects, it's amazing that more fans aren't seriously injured by foul balls and bats flying into the seats. It happens every game, leaving fans at great risk. Major League Baseball studied the issue and released recommendations to have safety netting at ballparks increased. Baseball stressed that these are only recommendations and not requirements for teams to follow.
For their part, the Phillies were already studying the issue on their own and had decided to make changes at Citizens Bank Park, which will be instituted for the 2016 season. The team will replace all of the current netting with a newer material, which is just as strong, but is easier for fans to see through to enjoy the game. The netting will also stretch from the home plate side of the dugout across to the home plate side of the other dugout. Currently, there is an area of about ten feet on either side of the field which is not covered by netting just before the dugout areas.
"We understand that our fans differ in their opinions about sitting behind protective netting and we will do our best to accomodate those different preferences," said Phillies Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Stiles. "We will take the opportunity in the upcoming season to remind all of our fans about the importance of being alert to the possibility of balls and bats entering the stands throughout the ballpark."
Stiles pointed out that the Phillies anticipate some changes to the netting at BrightHouse Network Field in Clearwater, which serves as the Phillies spring training facility and the home of their High-A club, the Clearwater Threshers. It's not known if any of the Phillies minor league affiliates will follow suit to change the safety netting configuration at their ballparks.