The Toronto Blue Jays has become the latest Major League Baseball franchise to opt to extend protective netting at its ballpark.
The extra netting will be installed at the team’s Rogers Centre home, as well as the franchise’s spring training base in Dunedin ahead of the 2020 season.
The Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and Chicago White Sox are among the other MLB clubs to have committed to adding extra netting at their respective ballparks.
Although exact details have not been disclosed by the Blue Jays, the franchise said it was “committed to a plan that will see the netting extended further down the baselines at both ballparks next year”.
The steps have been taken due to concerns about the safety of spectators.
Linda Goldbloom, a mother of three and grandmother of seven, died in August 2018 after being struck on the head by a batted ball at Dodger Stadium.
Several MLB teams – including the Dodgers – had already announced plans to expand netting after a young girl suffered serious injuries at Yankee Stadium when a foul-line drive hit her in the face in September 2017. The league recommended extending netting before the start of the 2016 season.
The Blue Jays’ executive vice-president of business operations, Andrew Miller, said that fan safety is “paramount”.
He added in a statement to the Toronto Star newspaper: “Extending the protective netting at Rogers Centre and Dunedin Stadium is a clear next step for our organisation and one that reflects our team’s values.
“As fans and followers of the game, it is vitally important for us to preserve and enhance the live baseball experience while also ensuring everyone who visits our ballparks can do so safely.”
Image: Andrew Scheer