Fan safety remains on the forefront of issues around MLB this season. Each time a fan is struck by a foul ball — and we’ve had some scary examples — the question comes up again: What is MLB doing to protect its fans?
There’s been more discussion about this issue since May 29 when a young girl was struck by a ball during a Houston Astros/Chicago Cubs game at Minute Maid Park. She was taken out of the stadium and to the hospital. Players on the field were shaken up by the situation, including Cubs outfielder Albert Amora Jr., who hit the foul ball.
This issue has always been one that MLB left up to its teams, but with a little bit of guidance, almost like the federal government letting states make their own laws. In 2015, MLB officially recommended that teams extend their protective netting from dugout to dugout and by the start of the 2018 season, all of them had.
Now, a couple teams are taking the next step. The Chicago White Sox announced plans on Tuesday to extend their netting from foul pole to foul pole at Guaranteed Rate Field. This will the most netting of any ballpark in MLB.
The details haven’t yet been announced, only that it will happen “as soon as possible.”
The Texas Rangers won’t go from foul pole to foul pole, but will extend their netting down further into the outfield next season when their new ballpark opens, according to Levi Weaver of The Athletic.
That’s two of 30. If it’s anything like the last go-round of this, some fans will be keeping a tally of who is extending the netting and who isn’t — and even calling out some of those teams who aren’t on social media.
Likewise, you can expect the other side of this argument to be loud too. They’ll say to leave the game the way it’s always been and that it’s up to fans to pay better attention when they’re at a baseball game so they don’t get hurt.
The way things have gone in the past, you can count on this debate raging for the next couple years.
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