The Minnesota Twins today announced plans to comply with Major League Baseball's Fan Safety Recommendations - including new protective netting at Target Field - for the 2016 season.
"The Twins commend MLB and Commissioner Manfred for their leadership on this critical issue and the completion of a thorough analysis in consultation with all 30 clubs," said Twins President Dave St. Peter. "It's our intent to follow MLB's recommendations regarding fan safety netting as well as an incremental focus on educating fans regarding the dangers posed by batted balls and bats entering the stands."
Since opening in 2010, Target Field has earned its reputation as one of the most intimate venues in all of sports. The ballpark's lower level seats are located closer to home plate than any other venue in MLB.
Target Field's current backstop net is in compliance with the stated MLB recommendations - which call for netting to protect seats between the dugouts within 70-feet of home plate.
In contrast to other MLB ballparks, Target Field's dugouts are the closest to home plate of any in the league. Because of the proximity of seats within the Dugout Box seating sections (sections 3 through 6 and sections 11 through 14), the Twins will add protective netting above the dugouts in advance of the 2016 season. This new safety netting will extend approximately seven-feet high and run the length of the first and third base dugouts.
Regarding the netting itself, the Twins will take advantage of the latest technology - both behind home plate and at the dugouts - delivering a minimally obtrusive viewing experience.
"The Twins remain fully committed to delivering the best possible game day experience for our fans," St. Peter added. "In that spirit we have developed this plan aimed at enhancing fan safety while preserving the unique sightlines and accessibility of our ballpark. The Twins are proactively reaching out to season ticket holders most affected by these changes. We fully understand fans differ in relation to their opinions about sitting behind protective netting and will do our best to accommodate the varying preferences."
In addition to protective netting revisions, the Twins will implement an enhanced communication plan at Target Field warning fans about the dangers posed by batted balls and bats entering the stands and the need to pay attention to the action on the field during each at-bat. This plan will include warning messages via in-ballpark signage, messaging on tickets and other team-controlled platforms.