Sam Kennedy

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: 'The last thing in the world we want is someone getting hurt at Fenway'

Ryan Hannable
December 10, 2015 - 9:33 am
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Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined Ordway, Merloni and Fauria on Thursday to discuss the new protective netting at Fenway Park, as well as the Red Sox' offseason. To hear the interview, go to the Ordway, Merloni and Fauria audio on demand page. On Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced a recommendation for teams to add additional netting for the purpose of better fan safety. The Red Sox will comply and have protective netting that goes from dugout to dugout. Kennedy explained in detail exactly what it means for Fenway Park. "The current plan is to follow Major League Baseball's recommendations and just to be clear, first and foremost, they are a set of recommendations that commissioner [Rob] Manfred has come out with and we commend him and his team," Kennedy said. "They have been working on this since last season and they have done a great job of engaging a lot of different experts, looking at it from a lot of different angles. They want balance to keep fans connected to the players around the dugout area. So the recommendation is to go from the inner wall of the dugout, so at Fenway, that would be dugout 29 across to dugout 61. The inner wall of each dugout around to the inner wall of the other dugout. "What we don't know right now is exactly what the screen, additional netting will look like given we're working with the engineers to understand how we get that protection and coverage, at least 70-foot radius behind home plate that they are recommending. If I had to guess, it would be 5-6 foot high screen off the current field wall, but don't hold me to that because we're working on it now. Our current backstop has a field wall of three feet and then a nine-foot, eight-inch screen on top of it that extends all the back up to the EMC club, for comparison purposes. We're working on it now, but we are going to follow the recommendations that the commissioner's office put out -- just this industry standard of a 70-foot radius to protect those sitting within a 70-foot radius of home plate with the expansion of the netting." Even with the protective netting, Kennedy acknowledged fans still need to be alert, especially in seats that don't have the protective netting. "Fans do need to be careful," he said. "Balls come in, bats come in, so you have to be careful. We're going to work with baseball to make sure we get that message out as well. The last thing in the world we want is someone getting hurt at Fenway." The team is looking into potential retractable protective netting that can be taken down both before and after games and put back up during games. The team will also relocate season-ticket holder's seats if they want if their seats are affected by the netting. If that doesn't work, they will issue full refunds. The Red Sox have been active off the field this winter with trades and free agent signings, led by new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi. Kennedy said it's been fun watching him work out his plan since joining the club last summer. "He's just done an amazing job," Kennedy said. "It's been fun to watch. It's been fun to work along side of him. He's a terrific guy. He's been in the game 37 years and it really have been fantastic having him part of the Red Sox organization. We shouldn't feel too good winning the offseason. I've been around here 15 years, I know how that goes." The Red Sox will hold Christmas at Fenway this Saturday and tickets will also go on sale for the 2016 season at 10 a.m. on redsox.com.