Today’s fans face many distractions at the ballpark. Cell phones, ball park entertainment, and casual conversations bring increased risk for fan injury from line drive foul balls or errant balls from adjacent fields. Balancing fan safety and the ultimate ballpark experience boils down to answering a few questions. Consider these questions to help you effectively address fan and player safety.
Areas to protect.
Your needs will vary depending upon the style of facility — single field, multi-field, mixed sport complex, or wagon wheel / cloverleaf design. Consider these areas when planning your strategy.
- Fan seating areas and pedestrian flow
- Handicapped seating, playgrounds
- Closely adjacent parking or buildings
- Concession areas
- Bullpens, batting cages, warmup areas
- Adjacent fields
Prioritizing safety within budget.
While complete protection may be your goal at the outset, the reality is your budget will play a huge role in what is feasible. Determine if your facility is most in need of directional protection from line drives, or overhead protection from foul pop-ups.
Outline and prioritize your key areas to protect. Consider a multi-year approach to accomplish your goals and remain within budget. In any case, an excellent solution can still be found with a strategic combination of netting, deciduous trees and risk awareness signs.
Examine the layout of your entire facility. Look at it from the spectator’s point of view. Now, think about the flight of the ball off the bat. Considering these elements together is what makes for a smart design. From there, your options include:
- Placement of physical barriers (netting, Bleacher Defender, shade structures)
- Landscaping (trees, hillsides)
- Risk awareness signs