All 30 MLB teams will have protective netting extending to at least the far ends of both dugouts installed by Opening Day, Major League Baseball said Thursday.
“Providing baseball fans with a variety of seating options when they come to the ballpark, including seats behind protective netting, is important,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “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.”
Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit, the New York Yankees, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle and Toronto are among the teams to announce expanded netting this year.
By the end of last season, Atlanta, Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, the New York Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Texas and Washington had already installed netting that reached the far ends of the dugouts.
MLB issued recommendations for protective netting or screens in December 2015, encouraging teams to have it in place between the ends of the dugouts closest to home plate. The push for an expansion increased last year after a series of spectator injuries.
The move comes after incidents where fans have been injured by foul balls or bats that have gone into the stands, including a frightening scene last year in New York where a 1-year-old girl was injured by a 105-mph line drive.