The Houston Astros are extending protective netting farther down the baselines at Minute Maid Park, with installation to be complete by their August 19 home game.
Conversation about extended netting at ballparks has become more prominent in recent months, particularly following a May incident in which a young girl was injured by a foul ball during a game at Minute Maid Park between the Astros and visiting Chicago Cubs. The netting at Minute Maid Park ran to the far end of the dugout, but the girl and her family were sitting just past the end of the netting down the third-base line, leaving them exposed to foul balls. In the period since that injury, several teams around Major League Baseball have either extended netting at their facilities or announced plans to do so in the near future.
On Thursday, the Astros revealed that they will extend protective netting at Minute Maid Park before their next homestand, which begins August 19. Netting at Minute Maid Park has extended to the end of each dugout, but will now run farther down the foul lines as a result of this project (the above image shows how far it will run). Existing Minute Maid Park netting will be replaced with knot-less netting, which the Astros say will lead to a better viewing experience for fans.
In their announcement, the Astros included the following statement: “Fan experience is always a top priority for the Astros. The Astros have followed Major League Baseball’s guidelines regarding netting while providing fans with a choice as to whether they sit in areas with or without protective netting. These changes will improve the fan’s experience and increase the number of seats behind protective netting. Fans will continue to have the option to sit in areas without netting.”
The Astros are now set to join a select group of teams to extend protective netting at their ballparks during the 2019 season. The Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals both extended netting last month at their respective facilities, Guaranteed Rate Field and Nationals Park, while the Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to raise and extend Dodger Stadium netting by early September. Several other MLB teams have also publicly stated plans to extend protective netting at their current facilities in the near future, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Image courtesy Houston Astros.
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