Chicago White Sox is to become the first Major League Baseball (MLB) team to extend protective netting to the corners of the outfield following a spate of incidents in which fans have been struck by match balls.

The MLB team announced in its match programme on Tuesday that the protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field will stretch from foul pole to foul pole, with work to be completed later this summer.

MLB ordered teams to extend netting from dugout to dugout before the 2018 season, but many believe a move from foul pole to foul pole in all stadiums is inevitable following a series of incidents. It is thought many club owners back expanded netting and will follow the White Sox’s lead this year.

During last week’s White Sox home game against Washington Nationals, a woman struck on the head by a foul ball was kept overnight in hospital. Incidents involving children have occurred just this month at both Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals.

A California grandmother, Linda Goldbloom, died in August 2018 as a consequence of being hit in the head by a batted ball while attending a game at Dodger Stadium. In 2017 a young girl suffered life-threatening injuries from a foul line drive that hit her in the face.

After the recent incident in Houston, Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant told ESPN every team should extend netting to the foul poles.

“I think any safety measure we can take to make sure that the fans are safe, we should do it,” he said.

The ‘Baseball Rule’ negates the possibility of injury claims from fans and courts of law have generally held that as long as teams provide warnings and install netting in the areas of greatest danger, MLB has lived up to its responsibility.

Image: John Martinez Pavliga