Reds to Install Additional Safety Netting Beyond Dugouts

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2017

The Cincinnati Reds stand on the field during practice at Great American Ballpark, Sunday, April 3, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

The Cincinnati Reds announced plans Thursday to install protective netting extending past the dugouts at Great American Ball Park beginning in the 2018 season.

"The Reds' ongoing commitment to providing the best ballpark experience includes maintaining the safety and security of our fans," the team said in a statement.

Cincinnati is doing so to protect fans from balls that could go into the stands at a high rate of speed and cause injury.

The Reds are doing so to protect fans from balls that could go into the stands at a high rate of speed and cause injury. MLB has placed increasing pressure on teams to expand its protective netting in recent years, though it is yet to make it a requirement for all 30 teams.

"I think you're going to see continued evolution by the clubs—extended netting that's designed to fit with each individual stadium," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in July, per Christian Red of the New York Daily News. "We continually are talking to the individual clubs about what they should be doing in each of their stadiums. I think the reluctance to do it on a league-wide basis only relates to the difficulty of having a single rule that fits 30 stadiums that obviously are not designed the same way."

MLB recommends teams install 70 feet of netting, from behind home plate to the beginning of both dugouts. The issue returned to the forefront earlier this week when a young girl was hospitalized after being hit in the face by a line drive by New York Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier.

Yankees infielder Chase Headley was among the players who called for increased netting at Yankee Stadium.

"It's something [the players] been complaining about for years, not having that covered," Headley told reporters. "It's scary. We're praying for the kid and hope for the best, but there's nothing you can do when it's coming at you that fast. I don't think the average person understands how fast those things are coming. To have to see that, for me, it's sickening."

Manfred said MLB will "redouble" its efforts to persuade teams to install netting after the incident in New York.

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