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Added netting won’t hurt fan experience says TinCaps president

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Opening day for the TinCaps at Parkview Field is a touch over two months from now, and you'll notice a change when you go to the park. The team president discussed more about the change and why they're going for it now.

TinCaps President, Mike Nutter says, "The climate for it has changed with social media and different things like that. It's our decision, we want to be lead and be ahead of it."

After numerous incidents where foul balls have injured or even killed fans at baseball games, Parkview Field becomes another park to roll out extended netting.

"It will go about halfway into the bullpen," says Nutter. "There will still be areas uncovered, but the main seating bowl, the last three sections of reserve seats, the fixed seating like where we're standing now will all be covered."

The extension of protective netting is becoming more common throughout minor and major league parks. Parkview Field's netting was extended to where the dugouts are in 2016.

"What we found last time we did this, the online reaction was overly negative, and then once the season started, the reaction that we got was just so positive," says Nutter.

One thing the extension may bring questions about is the fan experience, such as the opportunity to get foul balls.

"The foul balls are still going to come up and over," says Nutter. "The ones that we've eliminated are not the ones you wanted to try and catch, and the autographs are a non-factor from the standpoint of every Sunday, our players are out on the field doing autographs, and then we'll work with our players to get them down in the bullpens each day and make sure fans have access."

Watching a game through netting may bring another issue for fans, but Nutter says it has improved in his time in baseball management from nets that he says were like chicken wire to now.

"People will say, 'Well, I don't want to look through a net," says Nutter. "It's my experience at the major league level, at the minor league level, the best seats have always been right behind home. That's where scouts sit, that's where usually the most expensive other than the suites and things like that are, and those have always had netting."

The TinCaps first home game is April 13.

Jon Wilson

Jon Wilson is the Weekend Meteorologist at Fort Wayne’s NBC. You can catch Jon’s weekend forecasts on Fort Wayne’s NBC at 6 and 11 p.m.

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