All 30 Major League Baseball stadiums will have extended protective netting installed before Opening Day of the 2018 season.
MLB officially announced the news Thursday morning, saying each club has agreed to extend the netting to “at least the far ends of both dugouts” with the purpose of fan safety.
“Providing baseball fans with a variety of seating options when they come to the ballpark, including seats behind protective netting, is important,” said MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred. “Major League Clubs are constantly evaluating the coverage and design of their ballpark netting and I am pleased that they are providing fans an increased inventory of protected seats.”
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) February 1, 2018
In recent weeks, the number of MLB teams to say they would extend the protective netting at their stadiums increased to 27 with the Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox all jumping on board. The only teams remaining were the Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. Thursday morning’s announcement changes that.
The league-wide initiative was a no-brainer after multiple fan injuries at MLB stadiums in recent years as a result of balls and bats flying into the stands. The issue was exacerbated following an incident at Yankee Stadium last September where a young girl was struck in the face by a foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier. The ball came off Frazier’s bat at 105 miles per hour, and the fan suffered a broken nose and facial fractures.
After the incident, Frazier was adamant in his call for extending the protective netting.
“I think 2018, that’s too late,” Frazier said a few days after the incident. “It should be up sooner than that.”
Previously, in December 2015, MLB issued recommendations for netting from the home plate area to the end of each dugout.
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