The Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday announced the team will extend the protective netting at PNC Park, as well as at the team’s Spring Training home, LECOM Park, in Bradenton, Fla. The new netting systems will now stretch nearly the length of the first and third base foul lines at both ballparks in order to allow for a safer viewing environment.
At PNC Park in 2017, the Pirates became one the first clubs in Major League Baseball to expand the protective netting to the end of the home and visiting dugout. The team will now replace that netting system with an entirely new system that will extend to section 1 down the first base line and to section 32 down the third base line.
The netting system has been designed for maximum transparency, all while protecting fans in the lower seating bowl from projectiles such as foul balls and flying bats. To ensure fans still have ample opportunity for player interaction and pre-game autographs, the Pirates have added a number of openings within the new netting system that will be open prior to the start of each game.
“The netting expansion provides even more options for fans to sit close to the action along the baselines without concern for their safety and that of their family and friends,” said Pirates President Travis Williams. “While we understand it will be an adjustment from what we are all accustomed to, fan safety has to be a top priority, as is maintaining a direct connection between our players and our fans. We believe that we were able to accomplish both with our netting design.”
In addition, the Pirates will extend the netting at the team’s southern home, LECOM Park, in Bradenton, Fla, in time for the start of the 2020 Spring Training schedule. The netting at LECOM Park will extend to the foul pole on each of the first and third base lines.