Chicago Cubs

White Sox to Extend Netting at Guaranteed Rate Field

MLB extended netting to the ends of both dugouts after the 2017 season

The Chicago White Sox are planning to extend the protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field this season, officials revealed Tuesday. 

According to team, the Sox and Illinois Sports Facilities Authority plan to extend the netting down the lines to each foul pole later this summer. 

"Leadership of both groups have agreed to make the changes as soon as possible this season," the team said in a release. "Exact details and timing of the project will be announced at a later date." 

Major League Baseball mandated extended netting during the 2017 season after a line drive off the bat of New York Yankees infielder Todd Frazier struck a young fan at Yankee Stadium. At all 30 stadiums, netting currently extends to the end of both dugouts. 

No other ballpark, however, extends netting as far as the outfield foul poles. 

"I think it’s great," said White Sox first baseman Yonder Alonso. "Obviously the fans are going to enjoy, but number one comes with health and people need to be careful out there... We have to make sure to protect everybody." 

Both players and executives have been calling on Major League Baseball to extend the netting following numerous incidents and injuries in the stands. 

Most recently, a foul ball off the bat of Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. struck a young fan at a game against the Houston Astros on May 29. 

"Right now, I want to put a net around the whole stadium," an emotional Almora said after the game.

After learning of the White Sox announcement, Almora called the decision a "positive step in the sport." 

"I don’t think anybody should go home with bumps or bruises or even worse," he said Tuesday. 

Cubs teammate Jon Lester added he would also like to see netting extended at other ballparks. 

"When one team does it then you know you can get kind of the herding effect and the rest of the people usually follow," he said.  

At the time of the Houston incident, the league said it was at least considering other options moving forward.

"Clubs have significantly expanded netting and their inventory of protected seats in recent years," the league said in a statement. "With [the May 29] event in mind, we will continue our efforts on this important issue."

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