U.S. senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth called on Major League Baseball on Thursday to extend safety netting to the right and left corners of ballparks in the wake of a recent spate of fans being injured by foul balls.
Durbin and Duckworth, D-Ill., wrote a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, urging him to push all major league teams to extend their safety netting to the corners.
A young fan holds ice to her head after being hit with a foul ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, June 23, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
“Clearly, more needs to be done to put the safety of fans first,” the senators wrote. “Players are hitting balls with a velocity of more than 100 mph onto the field and into the seated areas. A Bloomberg analysis found nearly 1,800 people annually have suffered foul ball-related injuries while attending games. Extended netting could help prevent many of these injuries.”
In their letter, Durbin and Duckworth cited recent incidents involving foul balls that have injured fans, including a 2-year-old girl who suffered a skull fracture at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, in May and two incidents that occurred this month at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
FILE – In this Wednesday, May 29, 2019, file photo, a young child is carried from the stands after being injured by a foul ball off the bat of Chicago Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr. during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
They credited the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals with taking the steps to already extend the netting while the Los Angeles Dodgers are mulling the option. The Texas Rangers plan to have netting to the corners in their new ballpark. The senators added that they believe extended netting could prevent many injuries.
“We appreciate the efforts MLB and individual teams have taken so far for the safety of fans. However, it is clear the current extended netting is not sufficient to protect fans from serious injury or death. We hope all teams will follow the leadership of the White Sox, Nationals, Dodgers and Rangers in this matter,” the letter reads.
Major League Baseball has not responded to a request for comment by Fox News.
The letter comes as it was learned the girl who was struck by a foul ball in Houston last month suffered a skull fracture. The ball came off the bat of Chicago Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr., who appeared visibly upset after the play.
Chicago Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr., center, takes a knee as Jason Heyward, left, and manager Joe Maddon, right, talk to him after hitting a foul ball into the stands during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
It’s just one in a series of examples of incidents involving foul balls. On Sunday, a girl in Dodger Stadium was hit by a foul ball off Dodgers’ outfielder Cody Bellinger. A woman died from a brain hemorrhage last year after she was struck by a foul ball at in the same ballpark.
In 2017, a boy at Yankee Stadium was hit by a portion of then-Yankee Chris Carter’s broken bat. That same year, a fan was hit by Aaron Judge’s foul ball, which was traveling at 105 mph.
In September 2017, a 2-year-old girl was hospitalized from the impact of a 105 mph foul ball hit by then-Yankee Todd Frazier.
In 2018, all Major League Baseball teams extended netting past the home plate area to the far edge of each dugout to protect fans from foul balls. The girl in Houston was sitting 10 feet past the area where the netting ends.
Nine teams have placed additional netting beyond the dugout.
Fox News’ Mike Emanuel and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
Source – https://www.foxnews.com/sports/mlb-rob-manfred-extended-netting-durbin-duckworth-letter