The Nashville Sounds, in accordance with recommendations issued by Major League Baseball, have extended the protective netting behind home plate to cover the seating area behind both dugouts at First Tennessee Park for the 2016 season.
First Tennessee Park has been outfitted with new protective nets - at the same height as the already-existing backstop behind home plate -- that run the length of each dugout.
"Based on the proximity of our Premium seats to the playing field, the reaction time to a foul ball directly behind the dugouts is almost non-existent, and fan safety is of utmost importance to us," said Garry Arthur, Sounds COO & General Manager.
Earlier today, the team began contacting its season ticket members to educate them about these fan safety improvements.
"The Sounds remain committed to delivering the best possible game day experience for our fans," Arthur added. "In that spirit, we have added new netting that enhances fan safety while preserving the unique sightlines of our ballpark; the new netting is the same gauge and size that we had on our backstop last season, through which thousands of fans enjoyed watching our games.
"Our staff is proactively reaching out to season ticket members most affected by these changes. We understand that fans differ in relation to their opinions about sitting behind protective netting and will do our best to accommodate the varying preferences. Ultimately, we believe that most of our fans will understand these measures taken with their best interests at heart."
On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed fan safety, specifically netting, at ballparks around the country. Prior to the commissioner's speech, the Sounds had been already working on plans to add to the protective netting at First Tennessee Park.
The 2016 season will be the Sounds' 19th year in the Pacific Coast League and their second as the Oakland Athletics' top affiliate. The Sounds begin the season at First Tennessee Park when they host the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Thursday, April 7 at 6:35 p.m. Season ticket memberships are available now by calling (615) 690-4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.