Little more than a week after a fan was hit in the head by a foul ball at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday announced they will extend protective netting from foul pole to foul pole later this summer.
According to reports, the decision came straight from White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The announcement also comes after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said early this month that he didn't expect teams to add to their screens during this season,
On June 10, a woman at Guaranteed Rate Field was struck by a hard line drive in the fourth inning. Stadium personnel helped her up to the concourse. WGN in Chicago reported that the woman spent one night in a hospital and went home June 11.
"In today's day and age, you have a lot of young fans, and guys are hitting the ball harder," White Sox right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito told reporters. "I see counterarguments like, 'Don't sit there,' or, 'Just pay attention to the game.'
"Dude, no matter how much you're paying attention to the game, if that thing's coming in 115 miles an hour with tail, no matter if you have a glove this big, it could hit you right in the forehead."
Scrutiny of fan safety at baseball games intensified when a child was hit by a hard line drive during a game at Houston's Minute Maid Park on May 29. The child was also hospitalized.
Currently, the netting in Chicago extends as far as the end of the dugout, which is what MLB mandates.
Those same sources told ESPN that Reinsdorf's decision could spur other teams throughout baseball to follow suit.
--Field Level Media