Phillies Extend Protective Netting at Citizens Bank Park
The Phillies and many other teams in baseball have been called upon to extend the netting along the baseline, and the Phils have done just that at Citizens Bank Park.
Saturday night Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies home stadium, played host to the final game of the PHL Unity Cup soccer tournament. When one fan arrived, he noticed a change from the last baseball game at CBP this year.
Reddit user /u/SlimCharlesshotfirst noticed that the team extended the protective netting around home plate. The netting now stretches down the length of the dugout on the side closest to the field. The placement of the netting still gives the Phanatic the chance to dance around on the top of the dugout as always.
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MLB originally sent out the call for extended netting last winter after the 2015 season saw several fans suffer severe injuries due to objects coming from the baseball field. A broken bat struck Tonya Carpenter at a Red Sox game that left her in critical condition for days. Another fan had to be rushed to the hospital after a foul ball struck her off the bat of Detroit’s Anthony Gose.
The league recommended that each team should have netting up anywhere within 70 feet of home plate. The Phillies met that call by extending their netting all the way towards the inside edge of the dugout.
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The extension of netting to the inside edge of the dugout still wasn’t enough to protect some fans at Citizens Bank Park. August 22 facing the Cardinals, Freddy Galvis hit a screamer into the third-base stands that struck a young girl in the face. The next day, another foul ball chipped the teeth of a woman in the stands.
After the incident, Galvis, who has a young daughter of his own, became an advocate for expanding the netting. He told Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“What year is this? 2016? It’s 2016 and fans keep getting hit by foul balls when you’re supposed to have a net to protect the fans. The fans give you the money, so you should protect them, right? We’re worried about speeding up the game. Why don’t you put up a net and protect all the fans?”
Just three teams had netting that stretched down the entire length of the dugouts heading into 2016. Fan safety should be of the utmost priority for the MLB and each of its teams, and I’m happy to see the Phillies putting safety first.