Rob Manfred: Extending Netting Likely Solved On Team-By-Team Basis
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said fan safety is a "really big issue for all the clubs" and for the league itself, and that progress made in extending protective netting at ballparks can be attributed to "working with clubs individually." In an appearance on ESPN Radio's "Golic & Wingo," Manfred said "recognizing that each ballpark is different in terms of the way it's laid out and the infrastructure that's in place" has helped extend netting beyond where it was in previous years, as opposed to a league-wide mandate. Manfred: "We have constantly encouraged (the teams) to make improvements. I could say to the clubs, 'You have to do X on netting.' That is an approach that is unlikely to be successful given that we're in the middle of a season and there are differences in infrastructure that would make it difficult for some clubs to comply with that rule" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 7/8).
PLAYERS FOR IT, BUT COMPLEX PROCESS: In K.C., Greg Woods noted among the Royals players, the consensus is that MLB teams "should extend the protective safety netting from the edge of the dugouts all the way down to each foul pole." Royals VP/Publicity Toby Cook said the team has "no plans at this time to change the netting in the near future." Cook said that doing so might "obstruct fans' views because the netting would need to be strung at a higher angle, rather than at eye level." Woods noted the Royals have "done what's currently advised" by the league and are "free to make their own decisions on the netting" (K.C. STAR, 7/5).