The Chicago White Sox will be extending the protective netting in the team’s ballpark, a couple of weeks after a girl was struck by a foul ball during a Cubs-Astros game in Houston.
The team announced Tuesday that the protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field will stretch from foul pole to foul pole. The change is expected for later this summer, the team said in Tuesday’s game notes.
“Leadership of both groups have agreed to make the changes as soon as possible this season … exact details and timing of the project will be announced at a later date,” the notes said.
On June 10, when the White Sox were hosting the Washington Nationals, a female fan was struck by a foul ball during an at-bat by Chicago outfielder Eloy Jimenez in the bottom of the fourth inning. The White Sox told CNN the fan was conscious and coherent when transported from the ballpark to a hospital, where she was later released.
Currently, the netting at Guaranteed Rate Field is installed from the backstop to the outfield end of both dugouts, which extends across the photo pits and exit stairs into the tunnel.
Last year, Major League Baseball announced that all 30 ballparks were extending protective netting to at least the far ends of both dugouts — that is, the ends farthest from home plate — intending to enhance fans’ safety.
The move came after high-profile incidents in which batted balls struck fans — including the girl struck at Yankee Stadium in September 2017 and a man who was blinded in one eye by a foul ball during a game at the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field a month earlier.
The clubs’ moves last year to extend nets to the dugouts’ far ends went beyond what MLB recommended in December 2015. Then, the commissioner’s office encouraged teams to shield field-level seats up to the dugout ends closest to home plate.
The incident at the Cubs-Astros game a couple of weeks ago has renewed calls for increased safety measures at ballparks across the country.