Phillies to Extend Citizens Bank Park Netting to the Foul Poles Next Season

Bill Streicher -USA Today Sports

Honestly didn’t think this would happen, but here we are.

Netting was a hot topic earlier this season, when a Houston girl was hit by an Albert Almora Jr. foul ball and taken to the hospital. At the time, Almora was so distraught by the incident that he broke down and had to be consoled by manager Joe Maddon and his teammates.

As a result, some teams are extending their safety netting to the foul poles at their ballparks, and the Phillies are one of those teams, according to NBC 10:

The Philadelphia Phillies plan to install safety netting along the entire length of foul territory at Citizens Bank Park by next season.

The team on Tuesday confirmed the decision following the airing of an NBC News investigation into a surge in foul ball injuries at Major League Baseball parks across the United States and Canada.

Citizens Bank Park currently has safety netting behind home plate and down through the end of either dugout — covering sections 115-132. It stands as high as 10 feet behind home plate and 8 feet in other sections.

The new netting will be in place for the 2020 season, a team rep told NBC10 Tuesday morning, and will extend from section 107 thorough section 140.

We argued a lot about this back in May.

Baseball traditionalists said that people should be “paying attention to the game” or that children “shouldn’t be sitting in those seats in the first place.” Stuff like that. “Personal responsibility” was the theme.

My argument went like this:

I honestly think you’re at risk to get drilled by a ball whether you’re paying attention or not, whether you’re 5 years old or 25 years old. With the way dudes are hitting the ball these days, you could be totally dialed in and focused and still get cranked by a foul ball before getting a chance to react. Your view could be blocked by another fan. The ball could take a deflection off a seat or concrete walkway. There are a lot of different scenarios in play here.

I saw a lot of baseball purist takes on social media, folks suggesting a solution of moving kids to different areas of the ballpark, which makes sense, but I’m not sure how realistic that is. Like I said, kids aren’t the only ones being hit. You’ve got people of all ages getting plunked, and not all of them are distracted, looking at their phone, talking to a friend, or chowing down on crab fries.

Fact of the matter is that NOBODY is sitting there for three straight hours paying attention to every single pitch of every single plate appearance. For example, here are a bunch of grown adults just casually going about their afternoon:

That’s what the ballpark is these days, a lot of nonchalant behavior, people just sort of half-paying attention, enjoying themselves, eating nachos or doing whatever. Isn’t that kind of the point anyway? It’s supposed to be a relaxing summer trip to the ballpark. Yet people get irrationally angry because the seven year old in section 135 isn’t locked in for the entirety of the game.

So for me, I’m willing to sit behind netting to sacrifice a bit of my view if that helps prevent people from getting cracked in the head by foul balls or broken bats. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but apparently a lot of baseball purists do.

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10 Comments

  • Wally Cleaver October 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

    I think Jason M is a really nice guy, but gee wizz, he has no backbone. Gargano walks and talks all over him, and he just sits there and takes it. They should have kept Gargano, Cooney, Etyan, and Jamie on in morning. Farzy and Thomas have no business being on radio. Period point blank.

    Reply
    • Beaver Cleaver October 1, 2019 at 12:08 pm

      My brother is a complete moron. Farzetta > Gargano

      Reply
  • Guesty McGuest October 1, 2019 at 10:50 am

    We’ll all get used to it eventually. Its a good move.

    Reply
  • King of the toys October 1, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Sooner than you think those nets are going to extend from foul pole to foul pole along the outfield wall. People will laugh at the absurdity of it but the way the balls are juiced and at the speed they fly out of the park I’ve seen more than a few people almost get clobbered this year by home runs. Just watch players like Judge and Pete Alonso hit ropes and they could honestly kill someone who is actually trying to catch it

    Reply
  • Pork roll egg and cheese October 1, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I always go for the cheap seats up high. You can see the whole field perfectly and can spread out. Don’t have to endure some overweight mouth breather brushing your leg all game. Don’t have to worry about taking a screamer to the face.

    Reply
  • So Taguchi - Phillies Legend October 1, 2019 at 11:56 am

    As long as they don’t sign Hoskins to a long term deal I’m cool with whatever.

    Reply
  • Chuck Darwin October 1, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Foul balls don’t kill people, morons who pay for great seats to a game and pay no attention to said game kill themselves (or the kids for whom they are responsible.) Natural selection.

    Reply
  • Jim Halibut October 1, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    I went down to the ballpark on Saturday night and sat in 115 just at the tail end of the current netting. I noticed it when I first sat down and soon it faded into the overall view of the game. It’s not a distraction and it’s keeping people safe. I love baseball…I watch intently as any fan who goes to a game, but I don’t have the reactions of Brooks Robinson or Michael Jack, so even paying total attention isn’t enough. This is the right move.

    Reply
  • Jimmy the Greek October 1, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Worst extension was Klentak & MAC FAIL

    Reply
  • ... October 1, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Another reason not to bother attending Phillies games.

    Reply
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