Angels to extend safety netting beyond dugout at MLB’s urging
The Angels will fall into step with the rest of MLB next season by extending protective netting beyond the dugout at Angel Stadium, a team spokesman said. They will add 35 feet to each side, putting one additional section out of the path of foul balls, by the April 3 home opener in response to the league’s urging.
Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Wednesday that all 30 teams agreed to improve stadium safety after fans sustained foul ball injuries at Dodger Stadium and elsewhere last summer.
Home teams had already improved conditions. About a year after the 2018 death of a 79-year-old woman hit by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers in August extended netting down the foul line by 124 feet.
The Angels will install enough netting to protect sections 109 to 127 on the stadium’s main level without obstructing the view of the Diamond Field Boxes. Netting previously covered 110-126 — the sections from the end of the first base dugout to the end of the third base dugout.
Manfred said seven teams will extend netting to the foul poles. The configuration of protective barriers for 15 other teams making changes will depend on stadium blueprints.
The Dodgers were willing to set an MLB record for Gerrit Cole, and commit more money to him than any player in franchise history.
“In general, they are extending netting past the end of the dugout to the elbow in the outfield where the stands begin to angle away from the field of play,” Manfred said. “It’s very difficult to extend netting all the way to the foul pole because you need to run cables over what would be inside the field of play.”
An NBC News investigation released in October found more than 800 injury reports related to baseballs from 2012 to 2019. At Dodger Stadium last season, a girl was hit in the head by a line drive beyond the netting down the first-base line and a boy also was hit by a line drive during batting practice.
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