The Chicago White Sox are extending protective netting all the way down the foul lines to the foul poles at Guaranteed Rate Field, the team announced Tuesday. Currently, there are no MLB ballparks that have protective netting to the foul poles in the outfield corners. The changes are expected to be made as soon as possible this season. 

On Thursday, the Washington Nationals followed suit and announced they will also further extend the protective netting at Nationals Park. The netting will not extend all the way to the foul poles, however. This image shows where the netting will added:

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen several fans injured by bats and balls leaving the field of play at other stadiums,” Nationals owner Mark Lerner wrote in a statement. “I could not help but become emotional last month watching the Astros-Cubs game when a four-year-old little girl was hit by a line drive. I can’t imagine what her parents must have felt in that moment. And to see the raw emotion and concern from Albert Almora Jr. was heartbreaking. Further extending the netting at Nationals Park will provide additional protection for our fans.”

The Nationals say the extended netting will be installed next month, during the All-Star break. The team says all netting at the ballpark will be replaced with a knotless product that “offers a higher degree of transparency than the traditional knotted netting.”

All 30 MLB teams extended netting to the end of each dugout before the 2018 season, but the decision to extend the netting beyond was left up to each individual team. 

After a young fan was hit by a foul ball during the Cubs-Astros game at Minute Maid Park on May 29, the topic of implementing full, protective netting at ballparks picked up steam.  Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant called for more netting at MLB ballparks after the incident

Bryant isn’t the only player who has spoken out for more netting either; here’s what White Sox pitcher Evan Marshall told the Chicago Sun Times after a woman was hospitalized after being hit by a foul ball at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 10:

“MLB has taken a few steps in the right direction extending the netting, but, honestly, it can go all the way down to the pole and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all. There’s not a player in here that wouldn’t be in favor of that.”

White Sox first baseman Yonder Alonso also supports the idea:

“I’m a big believer in nets all around. No. 1 is the safety of not only the players but of the fans and everybody in the baseball stadium. That’s the reason why we have nets [behind] the dugout. Two feet behind us are the fans, and they don’t have a net. That two feet is nothing when a ball is coming 110 miles per hour.”

It’ll be interesting to see if many — if not all — of the other 28 MLB teams will soon follow suit and move for more protective netting.

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