New Nets At Sox Park Enable One-Of-A-Kind Catch
The progressive move by the White Sox to install more netting at Guaranteed Rate Field has instantly paid off with a catch you've never seen before.
One of the biggest debates in baseball right now is whether or not teams should be installing more netting at their parks to protect the fans. There has been a rash of injuries this year with baseballs and bats flying into the stands.
The reason for the uptick in incidents is most likely 2-fold. One, players are bigger, stronger, and faster and baseballs are leaving bats faster than ever before. And two, people are more distracted than they've been in the past by their cellphones.
I've can't believe more teams haven't done this already. The problem has been known for quite some time now and just from a business perspective it just makes sense to protect yourself from a lawsuit from someone who is seriously injured, or even dies, from a baseball that's traveling over 100MPH.
The White Sox so far are the only team to extend their netting all the way to the foul poles.
Detractors of this added netting usually have one of 3 reasons:
- It will obstruct the view.
- It limits the player-fan interaction before the games.
- It would eliminate the exciting defensive plays at the wall when a player reaches into the crowd to make a catch.
The first two reasons are lame at best. Hockey put netting in about a decade ago. People complained for about a week and then everyone got used to it. I've talked to people who have gone to a Sox game since the nets were up and they said that after 5 minutes you don't even realize they're there. The player-fan interaction can be easily fixed by having zippered "windows" or having the ability to take them down before games.
The third reason was actually the main reason I was a little hesitant. This is one of my favorite plays of all time:
and with netting that play is impossible.
But then Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil made this play last night and I'm all in. I imagine players around the league saw this play yesterday and a light went off in their head.
Players will no longer be afraid of the wall if they know they can just dive into the net and it will deposit them safely back onto the field. Imagine someone like Javy doing a play like this. That makes me excited.
So to sum it all up. Put nets everywhere and let these guys show off what they can do when an injury isn't a concern. Everyone wins.