In Houston, Hunter Atkins notes the Astros in '17 will "expand netting at Minute Maid Park to run the length of both dugouts, following a trend throughout baseball the last two seasons to protect fans." The netting above the dugouts "will be 12 feet high and behind home plate 32 feet high, extending from section 112 to 126." Netting above the dugouts will be "removed during batting practice so fans can still pursue autographs and put in place by first pitch." The Astros said that the new material "relies on a smaller mesh that allows better visibility" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/16).
STICKING TO THE PLAN: In Minneapolis, Megan Ryan writes MLS Commissioner Don Garber "wasn't too concerned" about expansion club Minnesota United possibly having to play at TCF Bank Stadium through a second season "because of various holdups" with their new venue. The St. Paul stadium could open in '19 instead of the original plan to have it ready by '18. Garber: "They've got a great plan. Ground has been broken. That's always a good sign. I think they'll do what they need to do to get it done, and I'll look forward to that" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/16).
AMERICA'S PASTTIME: Navy AD Chet Gladchuk said that the Red Sox and Yankees have "both submitted formal bids to host the Army-Navy football game" at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, respectively. Those are "among several bids that have been submitted." Gladchuk said that it is "far too early to speculate on which cities and facilities will ultimately be chosen." Philadelphia is hosting the '17 Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field, which "brings an end to the current contract" (Annapolis CAPITAL GAZETTE, 2/16).