PNC Park in Pittsburgh is widely considered one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country. Starting next season, it will be one of the safest, too.
The Piratesannounced Monday that they are extending the netting at their stadium from behind home plate allthe way to the ends of each dugout.They had previouslystopped at thebeginning of each dugout.
The team also has decieded to swap out its oldnetting withtransparent, knotless material to avoid obstructions.
On the team website, the Pirates posted a question and answer article regarding the new protection.
"The new netting system will allow us to provide more options for those fans who desire to sit close to the action along the baselines but only with the protection of netting," the team wrote. "By extending the netting system to the ends of the dugouts, we are providing protection in those areas where the reaction time for objects that enter the seating area is the shortest. There will still be opportunities for fans to sit outside the netting in areas where there is more time to react to such objects."
Pittsburgh has been working on increasing ballpark safety over the past two years, with a fan getting hit with a ball behind home plateagainst the Cubs being a key inflection point.
The Pirates said that this change was not mandated by Major League Baseball.