Major League Baseball announced Thursday morning that all 30 clubs will feature extended protective netting to be installed in time for the upcoming 2018 season.
Each ballpark will extend their netting to the far end of each dugout.
“Providing baseball fans with a variety of seating options when they come to the ballpark, including seats behind protective netting, is important,” said commissioner Rob 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.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays announced Wednesday their plans to extend their protective netting for this season, becoming the 29th and 30th teams in baseball to do so, and joining at least 12 teams to make an announcement in 2018 alone.
This is undoubtedly good news for the league. Several teams made announcements about extending their netting by the end of 2017, as the conversation regarding fan safety really began to intensify following three separate incidents at Yankee Stadium last year. A day after the third one in late September where a 2-year-old girl was hit in the face by a Todd Frazier foul ball, four teams announced their extended netting plans.
Following the Frazier incident, I published a Sports Rants feature saying that it’s time for every Major League club to expand their netting, while referencing two ugly incidents at Fenway Park in 2015 to support the argument.
A little more than four months later, that argument- which hopefully, no one disagreed with- is now a reality.
Again, undoubtedly good news for MLB. All 30 teams are sending the same message, which is that the safety of fans is of the utmost importance. With new netting to be installed in every ballpark, the likelihood of fans getting injured goes down significantly, and that’s something we can all get behind!