The Nats are installing safety netting on both sides of home plate that will be used during batting practice to protect fans from errant baseballs.
Poles have already gone up down the first-base line, as noticed by Andrew Kinback of SB Nation DC. You can see the poles in this Andrew Lang video. Both the polls and the netting will be removed after batting practice and before the games begin.
The Nats aren’t the first Major League team to go this route. In May, the Braves unveiled safety nets for BP that were 12 feet tall and 100 feet long, beginning 30 feet past the dugouts, according to the AJC.
“Just to provide a little safety zone for people watching batting practice, if they want to use it,” Braves president John Schuerholz said.
The Yankees also use BP netting in front of the luxury box seats closest to home plate and the dugouts, according to the New York Times.
“The Nationals are constantly looking for ways to make sure that our fans have a safe and enjoyable experience while at Nationals Park,” a team spokewoman e-mailed me. “This is in part due to the event that happened in Texas and our ever-vigilant quest to find safe solutions for any potential ballpark hazards.”
That incident, of course, refers to the fan who died after falling while attempting to catch a ball thrown from Josh Hamilton this summer.
“The Nationals — like every other team in Major League Baseball — strive to find safe solutions for any potential ballpark hazards, but are reminded today that we can never be too vigilant,” COO Andy Feffer said in a statement at the time.