Reno Aces fans are safe at their home ballpark.
Reno began construction on netting in Greater Nevada Field on Tuesday, Dec. 17, extending the mesh netting foul pole to foul pole. The nets reach the Coors Light Party Zone down the left field line to the foul pole in right field. The grass Family Berm in right field is not covered.
Installation is expected to be ready for the April 9 opening game vs. the Sacramento River Cats.
“We want to remain at the top of our industry,” Aces General Manager Emily Jaenson said. “And it’s our goal to make sure everyone in our audience is protected at all times. That includes the netting for the entirety of the stadium.”
The Aces, Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, selected Ultra Cross Netting by Sportsfield Specialties for installation. Ultra Cross Netting by Sportsfield Specialties is used by 23 Major League clubs including both 2019 World Series participants; the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.
Reno will use braided and knotless Ultra Cross Netting made of ultra-high weight polyethylene fiber, the strongest configuration available at Sportsfield Specialties, which offers 95 percent spectator visibility. The netting also offers protection against UV damage.
The see-through netting gives the ballpark a different unique aspect, Aces President Eric Edelstein said.
“It doesn’t dramatically change the visual from close or afar,” Edelstein said. “The net is high quality and it offers the best seat in the house no matter where you’re seated. … You no longer have to be behind home plate to get a great look at the game (and be protected by netting).”
Reno’s protective netting won’t take away from the interaction between attendees and players. A gap within the netting is open down the first and third base lines for fans to snag foul balls or autographs.
Fans can also catch home runs hit their way throughout the season. The Aces ranked third in the Pacifc Coast League last season with 242 homers.
“It’s important to keep the tradition of this great sport within our fan base,” Jaenson said. “Fans can exchange autographs or baseballs with our players before or after the games. They can always take a seat in the Berm and try to catch those home runs.”
When the Aces hit the road, Greater Nevada Field has a “Show Curtain” feature for Reno 1868 soccer matches. Several metal hooks placed on top of the netting pull it back to allow full-field viewing for Reno 1868 games.
“We want to be an industry leader and this is a unique feature for our ballpark,” Jaenson said. “It will allow us to pull it back for a clear view of Reno 1868 games.”
Protective net extensions have become common within the MiLB in efforts to decrease foul ball related injuries.
MiLB.com reported on July 16 that the Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, will extend its safety netting. Ballpark Digest reported on June 8 that the Quad Cities River Bandits, a Class-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, will also extend its protective netting for the 2020 season.
The Reno Aces have joined several other minor league clubs to extend the netting in order to keep fans safe at home.
“Last season, there were times when I saw a foul ball I tensed up a little. Because you never know what could happen,” Edelstein said. “This season, we needed to change that, and we did. … This new addition came before any budget-related decision and we want to keep our fans safe, that’s a priority for us.”
Reno begins the 2020 season with a five-game series against the River Cats.
Dbacks ink Luis Jimenez, assign him to Triple-A Reno
The Arizona Diamondbacks signed 31-year-old third baseman Luis Jimenez to a minor league deal on Wednesday. He was assigned to Triple-A Reno.
Jimenez was signed by the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2005. He was added to the 2010 Futures All-Star Game in 2010 as an Angels prospect.
Jimenez made his Major League debut with the Angeles in 2013. The 6-foot-1 infielder batted .260 with six doubles and five RBIs in 34 games. He’s has 68 career games with the Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox. His last MLB appearance was in 2015.
Apart from the Major Leagues, Jimenez had stints outside the United States with three different teams. He signed with the LG Twins of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2015. He played 43 games with Diablos Rojos del México of the Mexican Baseball League in 2018.
Jimenez also hit .234 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 67 games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional League in Japan last season.