MLB to expand protective netting at all ballparks in 2018

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - August 23: The new netting placed on the first and third base lines of the infield to protect fans from foul balls during the Arizona Diamondbacks Vs New York Mets regular season MLB game at Citi Field on August 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

NEW YORK – Major League Baseball is taking a step to protect the fans at their ballparks for the 2018 season and beyond.

Already done by a few clubs, commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Thursday that all MLB teams will be expanding netting during the 2018 season. Per a release from the league, the protective screen will be extended to at least the far end of each dugout before opening day of 2018.

“Providing baseball fans with a variety of seating options when they come to the ballpark, including seats behind protective netting, is important. Major League Clubs are constantly evaluating the coverage and design of their ballpark netting and I am pleased that they are providing fans an increased inventory of protected seats.”

This is a change in policy for the MLB, who will expand the netting zone beyond the initial recommendations by the Commissioner’s Office in 2015.

Chicago’s teams already made the move before the league mandate this offseason. Back in January, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts announced that the Cubs would be expanding the netting at Wrigley Field for the 2018 season.

At last week’s convention, the White Sox announced they would also expand the screens in 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field.