U.S. Senators Call On MLB For Transparency Regarding Fan Injuries
Two U.S. Senators "raised questions" about whether MLB is "doing enough to protect its fans from foul balls, writing a letter to Commissioner Rob Manfred urging him to release data that teams may be collecting on which seats are most vulnerable at their ballparks," according to Billy Witz of the N.Y. TIMES. U.S. Sens. Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth (both D-Ill.) in the letter to Manfred wrote that "making more data about injuries available to the public ... would 'help evaluate the voluntary safety measures that many teams are implementing.'" Some data "indicates that some of the most dangerous seats may be just past the dugouts." The protective netting in every ballpark was "extended to at least the far end of the dugouts" before the '18 season, but the "persistent injuries have raised doubts over whether that is enough to protect fans from serious injuries." Since recommending that nets be "extended to the beginning of dugouts" in '15, Manfred has "consistently refrained from forcing teams to take extra safety measures." Some MLB clubs have "begun to act on their own" in regard to fan safety. But while the senators "commended those efforts in their letter," they believe "more should be done" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/7).
JOINING THE CLUB: In Toronto, Laura Armstrong reports the Blue Jays will "extend protective netting" at both the Rogers Centre and their Spring Training home in Dunedin, Fla., ahead of the '20 season. The "exact configuration" of the extended netting is "still being determined" (TORONTO STAR, 8/7). SPORTSNET.ca's Shi Davidi noted there have been a "number of close calls at Rogers Centre over the past few seasons, including one May 10," when a foul ball "struck a girl seated well down the third-base line in the abdomen" (SPORTSNET.ca, 8/6).