On Monday, the Chicago White Sox played their first home game since the installation of extended protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field that runs to the foul poles.
Recent weeks have seen a flurry of announcements around professional baseball regarding extended netting, coming on the heels of an incident in May in which a young girl was injured by a foul ball at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The White Sox were among the first Major League Baseball teams to take action, announcing in June that the protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field would be extended to the foul poles during the 2019 season.
Netting was installed ahead of Monday’s game between the White Sox and Miami Marlins, the White Sox’s first home game since this month’s All-Star Break. Reaction to the netting was positive among players, as they appreciated the increased protection for fans. More from the Chicago Tribune:
Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez hit a sharp foul into the seats June 10, resulting in a woman being hospitalized. He applauded the move Monday, saying many foul balls are hit “super hard … and now the fans are going to be more safe.”
Two weeks earlier in Houston, the Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr. hit a screaming line drive that struck a 2-year-old girl, resulting in a fractured skull, according to her family’s attorney.
“Anytime they can prevent injuries in the stands, I think it’s a positive,” Almora said Sunday at Wrigley Field. “I’m excited to see how it works out and how people will enjoy the game and stay healthy.”
Sox spokesman Scott Reifert said Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf intended to extend the netting even before the Almora and Jimenez incidents.
The White Sox and Washington Nationals are two MLB teams that have made in-season changes to their protective netting. Within MLB circles, several other clubs have publicly stated plans to extend netting at their ballparks in the near future, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, and Kansas City Royals.
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