Two more MLB teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers, are extending ballpark netting for the 2018 season, and it looks as though they’ll be joined by the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.
Extended netting became a hot-button issue after a young girl was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium, requiring extended medical attention. Right now 10 MLB teams have installed extended netting, with three more announced for 2018 (and probably one more; the Rockies announced they were studying the issue). MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has spoken of teams committing themselves to a game plan this offseason. Today two more teams announced they would be extending netting for 2018. Cubs President Crane Kenney today announced the changes to Wrigley Field for next season on 670 The Score:
“Our goal is to create a safe environment,” Kenney said. “One of the things that will be happening next year is we move the dugouts a little farther down the line as part of our restoration plan, which we’ve talked about for years. The netting will get pulled a little farther toward the foul poles as a result of the dugouts moving. We’ve studied the spray charts for where the balls are heading and obviously, we’ve been pulling the nets further and further along from where they were.”
“Today phones and other things are distractions in the ballpark that didn’t exist (in past eras). So adding the netting as we have recently and as we will again this offseason makes sense. Safety is No. 1 for us. The players are in favor of pulling the nets. We’re going to do it to a degree. We’re studying it — even today, we had a meeting about whether we should go even further than we plan on going. But there will be more netting next year when folks come into the ballpark.”
Offseason changes to Wrigley Field are continuing this offseason, and as part of the work the dugouts will be moved. The netting changes will be part of the dugout work.
In Detroit, local television station WXYZ is reporting that the Tigers will be extending netting for 2018 as well, though the details still remain to be finalized.
Finally, the Baltimore Sun is reporting the Orioles will be extending netting in 2018, which now runs to the near end of the dugouts. And there continues to be talk that the Yankees will extend Yankee Stadium netting before the start of the 2018 season.
The announcements are coming out, slow but sure. Right now you have half the MLB teams either with extended netting or plans to install it in 2018, and we expect more announcements from almost every team this offseason.
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