After a foul ball caused a fan to be injured on Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers have announced plans to extend the protective netting at Dodger Stadium.
During Sunday’s game against the visiting Colorado Rockies, a young woman sitting down the first-base line was struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and was taken to a hospital for precautionary tests. Netting at Dodger Stadium runs to the ends of both dugouts, but the fan was sitting in a section just beyond the netting. The injury at Dodger Stadium comes just a month after a young girl was injured by a foul ball at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, an incident that had already prompted conversations about whether teams around baseball need to further extend protective netting at their ballparks.
The Dodgers are joining the list of Major League Baseball teams to recently announce extended netting, revealing plans to do so in a statement issued on Monday. “Fan safety is of the utmost importance to the Dodgers and during the offseason, we began the process of studying how the netting at Dodger Stadium could be configured to provide better protection for our fans,” the statement read. “Once this study is completed, the team will implement the recommended changes and extend the netting at Dodger Stadium. The team will provide more information on the project timeline and scope when available.”
For their part, Dodgers’ players have expressed support for extended netting. More from the Los Angeles Times:
But calls for increased netting have amplified following several recent incidents. Last August, 79-year-old Linda Goldbloom died four days after a foul ball struck her in the head at Dodger Stadium, and this season a young boy was struck by a ball during batting practice. In May, a line drive hit a young girl at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The fan was hospitalized.
Last week, Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill — a 39-year-old, 15-year veteran — reached out to the players union to support extending netting at all ballparks. Cody Bellinger, who hit the foul ball that struck the fan Sunday, said it would be “a smart decision” to add netting.
“One more fan having a severe injury or, in a really unfortunate situation, a death is something that is unacceptable,” Hill said. “You come to the ballpark for a reprieve and to take a break from the hectic schedule of life to enjoy watching us go out there and play. And you want to feel comfortable and safe.”
The Dodgers are now the third MLB team to announce plans for extended netting at their ballpark since last week, following similar announcements by the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals. Both the White Sox and Nationals are planning to complete their extended netting projects during this season.
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