At their home opener this month, the Yankees unveiled new protective netting at Yankee Stadium, running from the area behind home plate to deep into both corners of the outfield, a response to both the recommendation of the baseball commissioner and three serious injuries sustained by fans last season.
While few fans criticized the netting itself, there were complaints about the support poles that held up the eight-foot-high netting. Some said the poles obstructed their view of the field.
One fan, in particular, voiced his objection to the poles, and his voice was heard by Yankee management. The fan? Hal Steinbrenner.
As a result, when the Yankees returned from a trip on April 16, the poles were gone, replaced by a steel cable that suspends the netting from above and eliminates the obstruction created by 11 padded black poles.
According to the Yankees’ chief operating officer, Lonn Trost, who oversaw the design and construction of the netting, Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, objected to the poles when he visited the stadium just before the start of the season.
“Hal wanted to do something better for the fans, both from a safety aspect and the enhance their viewing of the game,” said Trost, who acknowledged, “We also heard from a fan or two.”
The new cables were installed during the Yankees’ seven-day trip to Boston and Detroit and were in place for the start of the 10-game homestand that concluded with a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
“As soon as Hal made the decision, I ordered the materials and had the installation done by the time the team came home,” Trost said. “It makes for a much better fan experience.”
Three fans were seriously injured at Yankee Stadium last season, two by foul balls and one by the barrel of a shattered bat that flew into the stands. Two of the injured fans were children, including a 2-year-old girl who suffered multiple facial fractures and bleeding on the brain after being hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of Todd Frazier on Sept. 20.
After initially resisting calls to extend their netting out of concern it could alienate season ticket holders, the Yankees announced on the last day of the 2017 regular season that they would extend the netting at Yankee Stadium in time for the home opener in 2018.
Published at Thu, 26 Apr 2018 22:13:16 +0000