The Kansas City Royals are planning to extend protective netting at Kauffman Stadium, making them the latest Major League Baseball team to reveal such plans.
There has been increased conversation about the role of extended netting at ballparks, especially those in MLB, since a young girl was injured by a foul ball at Houston’s Minute Maid Park in May. Since that incident, a few MLB teams have publicly revealed plans to extend netting in some form, and the Royals are now joining that list.
In the Royals’ case, a few particulars remain unknown, including when protective netting at Kauffman Stadium will be extended and exactly how far it will stretch. However, the team has publicly stated that it intends to extend netting at Kauffman Stadium. More from the Kansas City Star:
They began the process after a 2-year-old girl sustained a fractured skull from a foul ball in Houston in late May. The efforts take on an amplified urgency after a fan was hit and injured by a foul ball at Kauffman Stadium over the weekend.
Earlier this month, Royals vice president of publicity Toby Cook said the team has “no plans at this time to change the netting in the near future.
But Kevin Uhlich, senior vice president of business operations, said the club was already looking into it and expected recommendations back from C&H Baseball as early as this week. The timing of implementation depends on several factors, including specific design challenges and scheduling.
“We’re a club that takes it very serious,” Uhlich said. “We’re planning on extending the netting.”
Prior to the 2016 season, the Royals extended netting to the outside edges of Kauffman Stadium’s dugouts–going beyond MLB’s recommendations at the time–while raising it by roughly eight feet behind home plate. In 2018, all MLB teams were required to extended netting to the end of the dugouts and since the incident in Houston, there have been calls for teams to consider going as far as the foul poles.
The Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals are taking action to extend protective netting during the 2019 season, while a few others have publicly stated that they plan to extend protective netting at their current facilities. That includes the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Baltimore Orioles.
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