When a young girl was struck by a foul ball during Wednesday's game between the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees, it renewed the debate of how far should Major League Baseball go to ensure the safety of its fans.
In 2015, Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred recommended that teams have netting between both dugouts and within 70 feet of home plate.
10 major league teams (including the Washington Nationals) have extended the protective netting to at least the far ends of both dugouts. That leaves 20 teams, or 67 percent of the league, not having netting that extends far enough.
The problem is that the recommendation by the Commissioner Manfred is just that, a recommendation. Until extended netting is mandatory, teams will try to find a balance between fan safety, and an unobstructed view for fans.
Thursday afternoon, Major League Baseball sent a statement to WUSA9 from Commissioner Manfred which stated:
“The events at yesterday's game involving a young girl were extremely upsetting for everyone in our game. Over the past few seasons MLB has worked with our clubs to expand the amount of netting in our ballparks. In light of yesterday's event, we will redouble our efforts on this important issue.”
MLB can start by making it mandatory for ballparks to have protective netting at least to the far ends of the dugouts mandatory.