Toronto Blue Jays are ex­tend­ing pro­tec­tive net­ting at home sta­di­ums

Play­ers, fans have urged MLB to re­quire pole-to-pole net­ting

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Sports -

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays will ex­tend pro­tec­tive net­ting at Rogers Cen­tre next sea­son, join­ing other teams that have taken mea­sures af­ter foul balls in­jured fans.

The team also an­nounced Tues­day it will ex­tend the nets next sea­son at their spring train­ing home in Dunedin, Fla. The length and height of the new net­ting hasn’t been de­ter­mined, the team said.

Last month, the Chicago White Sox be­came the first team in Ma­jor League Base­ball to ex­tend pro­tec­tive net­ting from foul pole to foul pole. The White Sox an­nounced the safety mea­sure in June, a week af­ter a foul ball at their home park sent a woman hit in the head to the hos­pi­tal.

The Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als also ex­tended their net­ting to each foul pole in the mid­dle of this sea­son. Other teams have an­nounced plans for fu­ture ex­ten­sions.

Sev­eral fans, in­clud­ing a twoyear-old girl in Hous­ton and a three-year-old boy in Cleve­land, have been in­jured by hard-hit fouls this sea­son. Many play­ers and fans have im­plored MLB to re­quire pole-to-pole net­ting at every ball­park.

Com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred has said ex­tend­ing pro­tec­tive net­ting down foul lines is a team de­ci­sion. Be­fore the 2018 sea­son, MLB man­dated net­ting ex­tended to the far end of each dugout. That’s when the Blue Jays also added 10 feet to the pro­tec­tive screen be­hind home plate, rais­ing it to 28 feet.

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