Last night, the Chicago White Sox defeated the Miami Marlins 9-1 at Guaranteed Rate Field. However, this game was very important for Major League Baseball (MLB) as this game was the first game in baseball history in which the protective netting was extended to the foul poles on both sides of the field. The organization was able to add the netting while the White Sox was on the road last week.
Fans hit in the head
The White Sox began to look into extending the netting after a fan received a broken nose after being hit with a foul ball in September of last year (see video). Last year, a fan died after being hit by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium last August. A couple of days ago, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor hit a child with a foul ball. The child was sent to the hospital from Progressive Field.
The idea of all MLB teams adding the netting occurred at the end of May when Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. was so distraught after hitting a child in the head with a foul ball against the Houston Astros in Houston. He gave an impassioned plea to make the extension of the netting at all ballparks become mandatory.
Baseball is too stubborn
Despite of these incidents happening more and more at baseball games, only the White Sox has been smart enough to extend the netting to both foul poles. Money cannot be used as an excuse for the nets to be extended because the White Sox has been one of the bottom ten teams in the MLB in revenue over the past decade. Nevertheless, this team is the first team to extend the nets.
Other teams are using lack of time as an excuse and are waiting until next season to extend the netting. However, the White Sox only took about two months to have their new netting installed.
The main excuse that teams are using is that the netting impairs the vision of the fans. I would think that looking through a net is better than dying. This lack of movement on such a simple issue explains why the NBA and the NFL have surpassed the MLB as the nation’s most popular sports.