The Mariners are one of several MLB teams to expand the protective netting for 2018 to improve fan safety.

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In a move to better protect their fans from being struck by a wayward baseball or a shard from a broken bat, the Mariners will expand the protective netting on the lower bowl of Safeco Field for the 2018 season. The majority of teams in Major League Baseball have made similar extensions to the netting after several fans were struck by foul balls last season.

The Mariners announced their intentions in the middle of the 2017 season, but have released more details to the expansion. The plan is for netting to extend to the outside ends of each dugout and reach a height of 11 feet above the playing surface. It will cover from section 122 to 138.

“Fan safety and ballpark experience are always top of mind for us,” said Mariners president Kevin Mather in a statement.  “We believe we have a design that improves safety and uses the latest materials and industry standards to minimize the impact on sightlines.”

To do this, the organization consulted with MLB and the global architecture firm HOK on the design and implementation of the project. The installation is set to start in March and be ready for Opening Night on March 29 vs. the Cleveland Indians.

Per the press release, “all of the protective netting will be replaced with Promats Athletics 1.2 mm Field Green Ultra Cross® Knotless Dyneema® Netting, a lightweight, open mesh that is dyed green to meet MLB’s recommendation to reduce visible impact on those seated behind the netting.”

This is the second time the netting has been expanded at Safeco. The Mariners extended the netting 70 feet beyond home plate on the first and third base sides to MLB’s recommended minimum dimension before the 2016 season.