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In Wake of Little Girl’s Injury, Padres, Reds, and Mariners Announce Plans For Expanded Netting

Several teams, however, haven't made any promises to do the same.

Yesterday, the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, and Seattle Mariners announced plans to extend the protective netting at their home ballparks, in hopes of keeping fans sitting along the first- and third-base lines safe from the threat of foul balls and broken bats. The decision comes after Wednesday’s incident at a Yankees game, where a young girl was hospitalized after getting was hit in the face by a 105 mph foul ball.

Fan safety has long been a problem for baseball, but the league has been slow to enforce any real changes to make sure fans aren’t in the path of danger. After the 2015 season, MLB recommended that teams expand their netting, which already guards fans sitting behind home plate, down the first and third base lines. This recommendation, however, was optional and before this week’s accident, only eight of the 30 MLB teams had chosen to expand their stadium’s protective netting, leaving the majority of fans at risk for getting smacked by a ball traveling over 100 miles per hour.

After the incident at Yankee Stadium, however, players and fans noted that the entire situation could have been avoided if MLB stadiums extended the netting. The Padres, Reds, and Mariners all announced via social media that they will be adding extra netting to that will reach the ends of both dugouts.