The Reading Fightin' Phils will increase the coverage of the nets behind home plate to make games safer for fans

Games at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading will be safer to fans in 2017, thanks to an increase in the netting behind home plate. The move comes as fan injuries from foul balls have been on the increase.

The Reading Fightin Phils have announced that the main grandstand netting will be expanded for the 2017 season. 

With fans utmost safety in mind and in cooperation with the recommendations of Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, the protective netting behind home plate will be extended to now protect those sitting in section two through section 8 in the main grandstand.  Previously, only sections four through six were protected with a net.  A great amount of research was conducted to determine the best way to protect fans, while at the same time finding netting of the highest quality that would offer the least interference to field view.  The product that will be used has the highest visibility of any backstop net on the market.  It is of the same visibility quotient as the net used at Wrigley Field, and other Major League ballparks.“There is no question that protecting our fans was the most important part of this equation”, said Fightins GM Scott Hunsicker.  “That said, we also looked at this from a fan entertainment / stadium enhancement standpoint, and decided that it made sense to replace the previous net with the highest quality, most expensive, most see-through net on the market.  Fans that sat behind the net previously will now have visibility three times greater than before.  And, by removing the front wall and advertising panels in front of sections two, three, seven and eight, those fans being protected by the extended net for the first time will also gain the added benefit of improved sight lines.” 

The new, highest quality net will be three times more see-through than the previous backstop net (1.2mm knotless as compared to the 3.0mm knotted net that was behind home plate).  Further, the Fightins have decided to remove the advertising signage in front of the sections being protected for the first time by the expanded net, so the net will go all the way to the ground.  The visibility created by this combination of the highest visibility net, and running the net all the way to the ground, will be outstanding, and most importantly, protect the fans. 

The only other Phillies minor league affiliate to have expanded netting is in Clearwater, where the Phillies installed the added netting prior to the 2016 season in time for spring training.

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