The Minnesota Twins will raise the height and extend the length of protective netting above the dugouts and down the foul lines for the 2020 season, the team announced Wednesday.
This is the third time the Twins have added more netting to protect fans from dangerous flying bats and balls.
“Enhancing fan safety is always a high priority,” said Twins President and CEO Dave St. Peter. “Understanding every ballpark is unique in its geometry, we believe the new netting configuration is the right approach for Target Field.”
Injured fans in recent years have drawn grim attention to ballpark safety. Foul balls come hard and fast off bats and rocket into seating areas, leaving even the most attentive fans with little time to react and protect themselves. The Twins say they are again extending the netting beyond Major League Baseball requirements.
Two disturbing incidents in June 2019 drew a lot of attention. In Houston, a 2-year-old suffered a skull fracture from a foul ball during an Astros game. At a Dodgers game in Los Angeles, a woman also was hit in the head. In 2018, a 79-year-old woman died after she was hit in the head by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium.
The netting at Target Field is made of thin, green-hued strands and a knotless intersection to “deliver a minimally obtrusive viewing experience,” the Twins said. The green hues allow it to blend with the field.
Fans who enjoy interacting with players during batting practice will still have a chance. The netting can be detached at the base and rolled up so players will be accessible on each foul line.
The netting above the Target Field dugouts will increase by 3 feet. There will now be 12 feet of netting atop the dugout roof, which is 4 feet above the field.
For the 2020 home opener, the following areas will be covered by fan safety netting: Dugout Box sections 1, 16 and 17; Dugout Box Infield sections 2-6 and 11-15; Thomson Reuters Champions Club sections 7-10; Diamond Box sections 103-104 and 124-125; Infield Box sections 105-108 and 120-123; and Home Plate Box 109-119.
The Twins will continue to alert fans about flying bats and balls with social media and signs posted at the games.
The team is paying for the additional netting.