BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Orioles fans will notice some new safety measures at Camden Yards starting next week.
Crews will be installing extra protective netting up and down the lines to protect fans from batted balls.
“In a continuing effort to create the most fan and family-friendly atmosphere in sports, this week at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, crews are extending protective netting at the same height of the existing backdrop netting down each foul line to near each foul pole,” the Orioles said in a statement Thursday.
— Paul Gessler (@PaulGessler) August 29, 2019
The team said it and the Maryland Stadium Authority researched a number of safety options before making the decision to add netting.
While catching a foul ball can be a complete thrill, it can also be dangerous.
“Fly balls, because of the velocity, the injury can be fatal,” said baseball fan Sonya Malcolm.
In May, Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr., hit a foul ball outside the protective netting at a stadium in Houston. That ball hit a young girl, leaving her and the whole stadium, including Almora, shaken.
A similar situation happened at Dodger Stadium in California in June. A baseball fan sitting four rows back from the field suffered a concussion and whiplash from a fast-moving foul ball.
That’s why the Orioles and other Major League Baseball stadiums are installing even more protective netting.
The new netting, which will be installed by the Orioles’ next home game September 5 against the Texas Rangers, will extend from home plate to the foul poles and up 26 feet.
Chicago baseball fan Lynda Meyer said the added barrier between people and the action is a good idea.
“Nowadays, people are preoccupied when they’re at the game, they’re not always watching and paying attention,” Meyer said.
Additional netting will also be installed at the team’s training complex in Sarasota, Florida, by the start of spring training.