MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are trying to make going to the ballpark safer.
TicketReturn.com Field will look a little different this season to protect fans from getting hit by foul balls. The Pelicans announced Wednesday that they will extend protective netting in front of every section along the first- and third-base lines.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans president Andy Milovich says baseball fans getting injured by foul balls happens too often, like what happened to a young girl at Yankee Stadium last year.
“I think every ballpark in the country has had somebody hit with a foul ball, hopefully not seriously injured,” Milovich said.
The city of Myrtle Beach and Horry County, which own the Pelicans’ stadium, will spend $100,000 to install the netting. A city spokesperson says Myrtle Beach and the county will split the cost 70-30, based on the city’s 70 percent ownership in the stadium and the county’s 30 percent stake.
The nets are used by several MLB teams, including the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros.
“Major League Baseball has launched an initiative and a directive for all major league teams to extend their netting to the ends of the dugouts,” Milovich said. “Minor League Baseball has followed suit.”
The black netting behind home plate will also be replaced with a thinner version that can still absorb balls traveling more than 100 miles per hour.
Milovich says the new netting is knotless, which will maximize safety without blocking the view of the game.
“It’s a camouflage coloring in green so that it blends in with the playing ground,” he said. “It actually allows for 95 percent visibility.”
Milovich says the upgraded nets are important for a safe and fun day at the ballpark.
“After a long day on the beach and coming out here, enjoying a game with your kids in your hand and your cell phone in the other – hopefully some popcorn and nachos – there’s a lot of things that get you distracted,” he said.
The Pelicans say crews will start installing the next on the week of March 19.
Opening day for the Pelicans at TicketReturn.com Field will be on April 5, when they host the Frederick Keys.