During the third day of the MLB Winter Meetings, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball issued recommendations to all of the 30 teams in the league in regards to fan safety.
MLB Communications tweeted out an outline of the recommendations, as well as a statement from Commissioner Rob Manfred:
MLB issues fan safety recommendations: pic.twitter.com/5Zr3IdCMDi
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) December 9, 2015
One of the recommendations encourages the implementation, or continued maintenance of, netting that would protect spectators and anybody within 70 feet of home plate from line drive foul balls.
It also encourages that the 30 clubs find new ways to continue to educate fans on the need to pay attention to the action on the field during each at bat. This makes sense, especially in today’s environment with the vast use of smartphones and other devices at games that keep spectators’ eyes off of what is happening on the diamond.
There is also a measure recommended that would be more informative for spectators as to which seats are and are not behind netting.
In his statement, Commissioner Manfred essentially wants the fan experience to be as great as possible in terms of seeing their favorite players up close while also trying to keep the chances of getting a souvenir as high as possible. At the same time, his motive is to keep the fans as safe as possible in the process.
Last season, Manfred was at Citizens Bank Park for an NL East matchup between the Phillies and the Mets speaking on fan safety when a woman in the crowd was hit by a foul ball.
The measures recommended seem to be coming at a good time, as the use of outside devices will only increase by fans at ballparks and many don’t keep their eyes on the field at all times. It seems to be a pretty responsible move by the commissioner in attempting to maximize fan safety.