Batting cage

From BR Bullpen

A batting cage is a semi-circular contraption with a roof in which a batter stands to take batting practice. The shape of the cage, which is usually made of metallic wire or netting, ensures that most foul balls hit by the batter will be stopped and fall harmlessly to the ground near his feet. This is useful when the practice is taking place at a time when persons in the stands are not necessarily paying attention, or when the practice takes place in a constrained space.

A batting cage can be permanent - most major league parks have underground batting cages where hitters can warm up by taking a few swings against a pitching machine. However, the better-known version is movable. They are built with wheels and can thus be pulled or dragged away from home plate when not in use. Parts of the cage are often collapsible, making storage easier. Batting cages are often stored behind the outfield fence, but in earlier days, they were sometimes stored in play, in the more inaccessible parts of ballparks with large outfield acreage, and could thus sometimes affect the course of batted balls.

The development of the batting cage is usually attributed to legendary college football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg when he coached the University of Chicago baseball team in the 1890s. Stagg was known as a tinkerer who also designed equipment which became widely used in football, such as the tackling dummy.