Central New York, Sports, Syracuse

Syracuse Chiefs Take Initiative for Fan Safety

By Corey Crisan SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Select fans who enter through the turnstiles at NBT Bank Stadium are taking in a new safety feature on behalf of the organization — whether they realize it or not.

If you enjoy sitting down the first or third base lines during Syracuse Chiefs baseball games, you might take notice of an expanded safety netting that spans across six sections on the ground surface.

On the first base side, the new netting covers sections 105 through 109. On the third base side, the net covers sections 106 through 110, preventing objects – including foul balls – that might enter the stands during play.

Since the stadium opened in 1997, netting has been replaced behind home plate before, but this change is the first of its kind. Major League Baseball mandated changes to safety netting around its stadiums, but Minor League Baseball teams decide that on an individual basis.

“It’s literally the biggest non-issue we’ve ever encountered in the history of NBT Bank Stadium,” Chiefs general manager Jason Smorol said. “That’s what it’s all about. the safety of the fans, the enjoyment of the game.”

Because Onondaga County owns NBT Bank Stadium, it did not have to fund raise for the netting project. According to syracuse.com, the netting cost slightly less than $52,000. The county took the money from a resource that was already built-in.

“The county was on board to do it,” Smorol said. “The money was super easy because part of our rent is set aside to do improvements to the stadium.”

The Washington Nationals organization coordinated with the New York Mets organization, who will assume control over the Chiefs next season, for this plan to expand the netting.