The Royals have announced to season ticket-holders they will add protective netting to Kauffman Stadium for the 2016 season in response to a recommendation by MLB that teams add measures to protect fans from batted balls. The Jackson County government had also urged the team to add protective netting. Kauffman Stadium, like every other MLB stadium, already has protective netting behind home plate to shield fans from batted balls. They will extend the netting to the end of each dugout. MLB had recommended that teams add protective netting an additional 70 feet down each base line.
"We took a lot of different scenarios into consideration regarding the addition of netting at Kauffman Stadium, because we know that our fans take different approaches as they decide what they want their Royals' experience to be," said Kevin Uhlich, Royals’ Senior Vice President of Business Operations. "MLB engaged an outside source to evaluate all MLB stadiums and make recommendations for additional netting, and our plan exceeds all of those recommendations. We encourage any fans who may be affected by this change to reach out to their ticket account representative."
Royals sent out an email to Season Ticket holders about the new netting to be installed at The K. pic.twitter.com/UP7KjiwySq— Alex Gold (@AlexGold) February 17, 2016
The protective measures have come in response to a fan at a Boston Red Sox game last summer that sufffered life-threatening injuries after being struck by a foul ball near the third base dugout. It was just one of a number of serious injuries suffered by fans last summer, sparking a lawsuit from an Oakland Athletics fan seeking more protective measures.
The Royals will try to accommodate season ticket holders who are concerned the netting will affect their enjoyment of the game, but with 93% of the lower-bowl sold out, it will be difficult to move many people. Several teams have already added similar protective netting at their ballparks, including the Twins, Athletics, Giants, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Phillies.