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New fan-safety nets added to Globe Life Park

Spectators behind both dugouts getting better protection
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are installing extended safety nets at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The installation of the netting will extend to the outfield side of both the first and third base dugouts.

The new nets will extend six feet above the top of the dugouts and 12 feet above the playing field. They will extend 68 feet beyond the current home plate screen.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are installing extended safety nets at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The installation of the netting will extend to the outfield side of both the first and third base dugouts.

The new nets will extend six feet above the top of the dugouts and 12 feet above the playing field. They will extend 68 feet beyond the current home plate screen.

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The current home plate screen extends 72 feet in each direction from a point directly behind home plate. The screen is also 27 feet high. The new netting offers extra protection behind the dugouts but not as high as the home plate screens.

"The balls hit right over the dugout, that's what we're trying to take out of play," said Rob Matwick, Rangers executive vice president for business operations.

Major League Baseball has been studying fan safety, especially since a woman was seriously hurt by a broken bat flying into the stands at Fenway Park on June 5.

"That resonated with a lot of people in the industry," Matwick said.

Major League Baseball recommended safety netting extending out 70 feet from directly behind home plate. The Rangers were already in compliance but wanted to do more.

"In light of the series of injuries we have seen behind the dugout, we felt this would be an appropriate step for fan safety," Matwick said. "The extra measures would provide a more secure location in areas of high impact."

Matwick said the Rangers discussed this after the 2014 season but were not comfortable with any designs until this one. The shorter screens above the dugouts offer immediate protection on hard-hit line drives but with less disruption of views than the taller screen behind home plate.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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