Cubs Players, Executives Call for Extended Netting After Foul Ball Hits Young Fan in Houston
MLB extended netting to the ends of both dugouts after the 2017 season
After a foul ball off the bat of Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. struck a young fan at a game against the Houston Astros, players and executives are calling on Major League Baseball to add more protective netting around big league fields.
"Right now, I want to put a net around the whole stadium," an emotional Almora said after the game.
According to a statement issued by the Astros, the young fan was taken to a local hospital for treatment after the incident, which stopped the game for several minutes and saw teammates and opponents console Almora.
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After the game, Almora was one of several Cubs players who called on MLB to extend netting farther down the foul lines.
"Any safety measure we can take to make sure fans are safe, we should do it," infielder Kris Bryant said in an interview with ESPN.
In a radio interview with Chicago’s "Mully and Haugh Show" on 670 the Score, Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer also said he would be fine with more netting to protect fans from line drives.
"Any netting they do add is a good thing because we don’t really want to see those scenes in the future," he said. "I've always been really supportive of having netting all the way down the line. Going to a game should be about spending time with the family. The idea of getting hurt should not at all be a part of the equation."
The story has caused waves nationally, and other organizations are also weighing in on the safety issues it raises.
"We never want to see any fan get hit, especially a little kid," Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said in a radio interview on Arizona Sports 98.7. "I know right now the commissioner's office is looking hard at it. If we believe that’s what it’s going to take to keep our fans safe, then we’ll probably extend it even more."
The league mandated extended netting during the 2017 season after a line drive off the bat of New York Yankees infielder Todd Frazier struck a young fan at Yankee Stadium. At all 30 stadiums, netting now extends to the end of both dugouts, but the league says that it is at least considering other options moving forward after Wednesday’s incident.
"The events at last night's game were extremely upsetting," the league said. "We send our best wishes to the child and family involved. Clubs have significantly expanded netting and their inventory of protected seats in recent years. With last night’s event in mind, we will continue our efforts on this important issue."