PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A few years ago, Fifth Third Ballpark extended its nets from the dugout corners closest to home plate to the entire length of the dugouts.
“It’s still not exactly mandatory by Minor League Baseball to expand the nets but the Whitecaps made the conscious decision to expand the netting make sure the bulk of fans are protected,” Dan Hasty, Whitecaps radio broadcaster, explained Thursday.
There still are areas in the ballpark where fans can still get a view of the ball game without a net. Hasty says some still want that.
The old baseball adage to “keep your eye on the ball” can apply to fans watching the game too. Hasty said that just a few days ago, a fan in the stands was hit by a ball at Fifth Third Ballpark.
“The second that someone gets hit, it goes out on a radio and pretty much every staffer in the ballpark knows about it,” Hasty said. “There’s usually three or four people down there within seconds to check on them. We send medics down. We do testing to make sure all the vital signs are fine.”
That’s because the balls are going fast.
“There have been multiple studies that say if it’s a high rate of speed, it doesn’t matter whether you’re watching the game or not, it’s very difficult to get out of the way of a line drive foul ball. It doesn’t hurt to always be alert,” Hasty said.