Yankees Extending Protective Netting That Goes Beyond Commissioner's Suggestion
The Yankees yesterday said that they would "extend protective netting far down the foul lines next season at Yankee Stadium in the hopes of preventing fans from being struck by hard-hit foul balls," according to Billy Witz of the N.Y. TIMES. The team had typically "resisted calls" to extend netting -- until September, when a toddler was "severely injured when she was hit in the head by a line drive behind the third-base dugout." The netting will "extend nine feet above the dugout roofs and five and a half feet above the short walls that extend down the foul lines." It also will provide "increased protection for fans who are sitting inside the so-called moat that surrounds the highest priced seats, extending to the point where the wall makes a slight turn and hugs the foul lines." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has "encouraged teams to extend netting to the far end of the dugouts ... but has refrained from mandating the added protection." The Yankees are going "far beyond Manfred’s suggestion." The nets behind the dugout will be "retractable by up to three feet so that before games fans can still seek autographs or a baseball from players" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/11). In N.Y., Andy Clayton notes the "installation of the new netting will begin next month." The Yankees also announced "similar protective netting" for their Spring Training ballpark in Tampa (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/11).