Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bill that would mandate extended netting standards at major and minor-league ballparks, representing a state-level attempt to put certain requirements into law.
Under a bill primarily sponsored by House of Representative members John Patterson and Rick Perales, ballparks around the state that host major-league or minor-league teams would be required to extend netting to the foul poles at their facilities. If approved, the bill would require teams affected by the law to meet netting standards by April 1, 2021.
Whether the bill ultimately passes remains to be seen, but the attempt to put these standards into law comes at a point where extended netting is the subject of ongoing discussion within the baseball industry. More from Cleveland19.com:
Legislation was introduced on Thursday, which, if passed, would require netting at all minor and major league ballparks in Ohio.
Ohio House Bill 479 states that netting would need to be installed along the first and third baselines, from the end of the dugout to the outfield foul poles.
The netting would need to be set up no later than April 1, 2021.
Across professional baseball, there has been a wave of projects to extend netting farther down the foul lines since last season, coming on the heels of a May incident in which a young girl was injured by a foul ball at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. This is continuing into 2020, as Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said last month that all 30 teams will have extended netting of some sort at their facilities by the upcoming season, and several clubs around MLB either made changes to netting at their ballparks during the 2019 season or have announced plans to do so for 2020.
MLB’s two Ohio teams are expected to extend netting at their respective ballparks ahead of the coming season. The Cincinnati Reds confirmed last month that they will extend netting at Great American Ball Park farther down the foul lines, but have yet to announce certain specifics on the project. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians are expected to do the same at Progressive Field, though they have not revealed any exact plans. The proposed extended netting law would affect more than those two teams, however, as Ohio is home to several minor-league clubs.
Although individual teams have been active in undertaking extended netting projects, with a few at the major and minor-league levels going as far as to run netting to the foul poles, leagues are generally reluctant to introduce a broad mandate of standards that would apply to all ballparks. This has been noted before as it relates to MLB, as the league believes it would be difficult to mandate one standard to 30 facilities that have their own design intricacies.