The Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team is to extend the protective netting at PNC Park as it looks to provide a safer viewing environment for fans.
The Pirates announced last year that they had engaged netting experts to extend the protection at PNC Park. The stadium saw its protective netting extended to the ends of the dugouts in 2017 and the Pirates have now moved to further improve the safety of spectators.
The netting at PNC Park, and at the team’s LECOM Park spring training home in Bradenton, will now stretch nearly the length of the first and third base foul lines.
The netting system that was fitted at PNC Park back in 2017 will now be replaced with an entirely new system that will extend to Section 1 down the first base line and to Section 32 down the third base line.
The Pirates said the new system has been designed for “maximum transparency” while simultaneously protecting fans in the lower seating bowl from foul balls and flying bats. The team has also added a number of openings to the system to allow fans to interact with players before the start of each game.
Pirates president Travis Williams said: “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.
“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.”
A number of MLB teams have announced similar changes to their stadium netting after it emerged that that a California woman died in August 2018 as a consequence of being hit in the head by a batted ball at Dodger Stadium.