Whataburger field has extended its safety nets to help protect Hooks fans from foul balls and other objects that might fly into the stands.
CORPUS CHRISTI -
Visitors to Whataburger Field may notice a change made to the stadium, specifically the newly extended safety nets.
The Hooks wrapped up their opening home game Thursday night, where the newly installed safety nets were seen in use for the first time. The extended net is centered behind home plate but now continues behind each of the stadium's dugouts.
Its a change made to better protect fans from foul balls, or anything else flying into the stands.
Season regulars said they'd gotten used to having to duck for cover every time a foul ball heads their way.
"It sounds like a bee coming by you or something," said Jimmy Covington, who frequents the now-shielded seating.
With the new nets, however, the goal is for guests not to have to worry about ducking while enjoying the game.
"I can watch it without worrying about getting hit," added season ticket holder Clayton Trammell, "We're too old to be running away from them."
Trammell and Covington were among others glad to see the added protection in place.
"Even if you have your glove, you don't even really have time to react," said Trammell, "You can still catch pop-flies, but the real quick line drives, you know, that'll prevent them from hitting you in the face because there was a lady last year that got hit."
Back in 2011, a local dentist was hit in the eye by a foul, and was unfortunately injured severely enough that he can't practice dentistry anymore.
At the time, Dr. Rene Vela said, "I can't hunt. I can't fish. I can't be on a boat. I can't golf. I can't cut the yard," all due to a foul ball at a game intended to entertain.
It's important to note that every Hooks ticket has a warning on the back saying the ticket holder assumes all risk related to the game of baseball. Even so, the Hooks tell us the organization wanted to extend the netting even though the league doesn't require it.
"I think its the direction the league's going," said Jeremy Strugeon, Hook Stadium Operator, "We're being proactive. It's not required at this moment but we wanted to make sure we are ahead of the game and that we are protecting our fans the best we can."
The new netting isn't popular with everyone, but the extended sections are designed to be easier to see through.