First look at Tigers’ new protective netting at Comerica Park
DETROIT — We got our first look at the new protective netting at Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon.
What’s it like?
Well, that depends on your perspective. From the front rows, the netting is very noticeable and — some might say — a tad obtrusive. (Of course, the front rows are almost most vulnerable to screaming live drives and thus most in need of protection).
Ten rows back, the netting is far less noticeable. From the back of the lower deck or the club levels, it’s even harder to see.
All 30 MLB teams will use some form of expanded protective netting in 2018.
In the past, the Tigers (and virtually every Major League club) only protected the area immediately behind home plate.
Recently, more teams have extended the netting to the end of the dugouts. The Tigers went a step beyond that, exceeding MLB requirements, by extending the netting to three sections beyond the dugouts down the left- and right-field lines.
It’s those sections beyond the dugouts where fans are likely to find the netting most objectionable.
The photo above shows where section 116 (behind the screen) meets section 115 (no netting) in the right field corner, about 70 feet in front of the foul pole.
The folks sitting in section 115 have an unquestionably better view.
Players’ interaction with fans could also be limited by the new netting, although the Tigers have said they’re planing to develop ways around that.
Fans still have access to the one corner of the dugout near home plate, but it will be tougher to grab autographs down the foul lines.
Players also won’t be able to flip balls into the stands near the dugout unless they’re willing to go over the 30-foot netting.