White Sox players like it.
Their fans have given it mixed reviews.
And after the Sox’ first homestand since extending the protecting netting to each foul pole at Guaranteed Rate Field, their opponents have weighed in.
”I don’t mind it,” Twins outfielder Max Kepler said last week. “I didn’t notice it, but I’m sure it’s very helpful towards the fans. It can catch you kind of like a trampoline for the acrobats.”
The acrobats and value of the extended netting were on full display when the Mets closed out the Sox’ 10-game homestand on Thursday with a 4-0 victory.
In the fifth inning, Mets right fielder Jeff McNeil dived into the netting in right field to catch Eloy Jimenez’s foul fly ball.
McNeil snagged it while momentarily dangling over fans in the stands.
The netting held him up, allowing McNeil to make the out without making contact with fans until a few gently pushed him back into the field of play.
It’s a catch McNeil said he would’ve gone after anyway. But now fans, and players, can feel safer knowing they’re protected.
”All fields should have that,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “It actually saved him from maybe getting hurt. You kind of commit and you dive into a soft net. It’s not only saving the fans but maybe we’re saving players.”
Mets outfielder Michael Conforto agreed with Callaway, saying he doesn’t see the negative of the extended netting and that all stadiums should have it.
”For Jeff, that could’ve been the season for him,” Conforto said. “We can go into the netting and there may be some balls that came straight down out of the play that we don’t get to, but if that’s the only negative and we’re protecting everybody that comes to the park, I think it’s a good thing.”