MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is now on record with news that all 30 MLB teams will feature extended netting of some sort in their home ballparks for the 2020 season, with several teams already announcing plans.
Last week we covered the announcement from the Minnesota Twins to extend netting down each line. While the extended netting doesn’t quite reach each foul pole, it will cover most of the lower bowl. In addition, sections can be raised, allowing fans to interact with players before games. The netting used at Target Field in 2019 met MLB standards; the new installation will now meet the new standard. In all, 15 teams will extend netting down the lines, with seven more extending netting all the way to foul poles. Eight teams already feature extended netting.
Because every MLB ballpark differs in terms of seating and configuration, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to extended netting. Each installation will be unique. And many teams were already moving ahead with extended netting on their own. In addition, extended netting is also being installed in many Minor League Baseball ballparks: this month the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) began installation of extended netting at Greater Nevada Field, for instance.
Last season extended netting became a major topic of discussions across all of baseball. The Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals made in-season changes to their protective netting 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.
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