3 MLB teams to extend safety netting for 2018 following latest ballpark injury

Fans' reaction mixed
Posted at 3:37 PM, Sep 21, 2017

Three Major League Baseball teams have announced plans to extend safety netting to the end of the dugouts for the 2018 season following the gruesome injury to a child at Yankee Stadium this week.

Thursday's announcement by the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners came after  a 3-year-old girl was hit in the face by a 105-mph foul ball by New York Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier Wednesday afternoon.

Cincinnati-based WCPO interviewed several fans about the concept. Most fans arriving for the Reds-Cardinals game Thursday night liked the idea of expanding the netting at Great American Ball Park.

James Cheadle, Cincinnati:  "Should there be more netting? Yes. I would say require more netting for the safety of children and the safety of everybody."

Katelyn Schaeper, Reading, Ohio: "You picked your seats. You sat there. You know what - I don't want to say consequences - but you know what is coming. I mean, you know why you're at a ballgame and a foul ball is always a possibility."

Nathan Garbig, Covington, Kentucky: "You can always say you want the experience, but it's all fun and games until someone gets hit in the eye."

Darnell Raglin, Cincinnati:  "The nets should be expanded because the nets protect the children."

Dave Pascual: "Being an ex-baseball player myself, I've seen many injuries occur with foul balls, bats being thrown out of hands, so yes, definitely, the net should be extended.”

The Reds also said they would replace the current netting behind home plate.

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 Here is the statement from the Reds:

"The Cincinnati Reds plan to install additional netting at Great American Ball Park for the 2018 season, extending new netting to the end of each dugout and replacing the existing netting behind home plate.

"The Reds’ ongoing commitment to providing the best ballpark experience includes maintaining the safety and security of our fans.

"The expanded netting will be installed during the offseason and will be in place by Opening Day 2018, when the Reds take on the Washington Nationals at 4:10 p.m. ET.

"The existing netting meets Major League Baseball’s recommended guidelines, and the new netting will go beyond the standards established by the Commissioner’s Office.

"Further information will be available upon installation."

In 2015, MLB recommended - but did not mandate - that netting extend to the near end of both dugouts or 70 feet from home plate. As of Opening Day, only five ballparks out of 30 had netting all the way to the end of the dugouts, according to the New York Daily News.

"It remains an ongoing discussion in the industry," Commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday night. "We gave some guidelines two years ago, and what we have done since then is that we have encouraged the individual clubs to engage in a localized process, look at their own stadiums - every stadium's different - and to try to make a good decision about how far the netting should go in order to promote fan safety."

Frazier, Yankee teammates and Twins players said Major League Baseball needs to take more measures to keep fans safe.

Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said he doesn't care if more netting obstructs views from the expensive seats behind the dugouts.

"I don't care about the damn view of a fan or what,'' Dozier said after Wednesday's game. "It's all about safety. I still have a knot in my stomach."

The girl's father told reporters outside New York-Presbyterian Hospital that "it's too early to tell" if the girl would need surgery, The New York Times reported.

Frazier, who has two kids under 3, was distraught.