Los Angeles Dodgers to extend netting after latest fan injury
One day after a fan a Dodger Stadium got hit in the head by a foul ball, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced Monday that they would extend the protective netting further down the foul lines.
Dodgers team president and CEO Stan Kasten told the Orange County Register that the move to add more netting already was in the works before a fan was struck Sunday by a line drive from Los Angeles slugger Cody Bellinger.
"We have been talking for some time with different providers and looking at different options," Kasten told the Register. "Surely we will be expanding netting. I don't know yet the final configuration. Obviously, there are some different choices to be made and different products which each come with their own set of challenges."
Asked whether the addition would occur this season, Kasten replied, "I can't say that for sure, although I think it's likely. For sure, something is going to be done. As for the exact timing, I don't know that yet."
The Dodgers subsequently issued a press release that read, "Fan safety is of the utmost importance to the Dodgers and during the offseason, we began the process of studying how the netting at Dodger Stadium could be configured to provide better protection for our fans. Once this study is completed, the team will implement the recommended changes and extend the netting at Dodger Stadium. The team will provide more information on the project timeline and scope when available."
The women who was struck Sunday at Dodger Stadium stayed briefly at the game, given an ice pack to put on her head, but she later left to seek additional medical attention, according to multiple media reports.
Bellinger said Sunday regarding stadiums adding to their netting, "I would assume that would be a smart decision, just to protect those people in the front row that don't have reaction time. I mean, I'm over at first base and I've got to be ready, and they're 10 feet over from me."
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts added, "Talks like (extending the netting) need to intensify, and for me, as we talk about getting ahead of things, I don't see anything wrong with that idea."
The Dodgers' announcement comes a week after the Chicago White Sox said they would extend netting from foul pole to foul pole. That came in the wake of a woman at Guaranteed Rate Field getting struck by a hard line drive on June 10.
The Washington Nationals also announced Thursday that they would extend the netting further down the left and right field lines, past the dugouts.
The movement for baseball teams to add more fan protection ramped up after a 4-year-old girl was hit by a line-drive foul ball off the bat of the Chicago Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. during a game against the Astros in Houston in late May.
Kasten told the Register, regarding teams coming to the same conclusion as the Dodgers, "I think it was expected in baseball because all of us have been talking about doing more. All of the teams have. It wasn't a surprise at all. One of the things that has changed and has been helpful is that the modern-day fan has more of an expectation of seeing netting than they ever have before. And that's useful to know because customer opinions are very important."
Last season, 79-year-old Linda Goldbloom was struck by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 25 and died four days later. An autopsy determined the cause of death was acute intracranial hemorrhage caused by the impact of the baseball.
According to Erwin Goldbloom, the widower of Linda, the Dodgers offered to pay for funeral expenses. He told reporters that the family filed a wrongful death suit against the team and the two sides reached a settlement in January. He declined to disclose terms.
After several injuries in 2017, all major league teams had nets that went out at least as far as the end of the dugouts for the start of 2018, according to commissioner Rob Manfred.