After a young girl was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium during a Yankees–Twins game on Wednesday, the Reds became the first team to respond by announcing a plan to increase netting at its stadium, Great American Ballpark. The Mariners, Padres and Rockies have since followed suit.
"The Reds' ongoing commitment to providing the best ballpark experience includes maintaining the safety and security of our fans," the statement said.
The Mariners also announced a plan to increase netting at Safeco Field, but said the specifics of the plan are still being discussed.
"This is an issue that we've been concerned about for some time," Mariners president Kevin Mather said. "We still have some details to work out, but the bottom line is expanded netting at Safeco Field is going to happen."
The Padres' statement specified that they will extend netting to the end of each dugout by Opening Day 2018.
Colorado didn't unveil specific plans so much as acknowledge that the team is looking into expanding the netting. The Rockies highlighted "engineering issues" and vendor selection as parts of the process that make the endeavor so complex.
The teams' announcements come shortly after commissioner Rob Manfred promised that the league would redouble its efforts to increase netting at stadiums league-wide.
"The events at yesterday's game involving a young girl were extremely upsetting for everyone in our game," Manfred told ESPN's Bob Ley. "Over the past few seasons MLB has worked with our clubs to expand the amount of netting in our ballparks. In light of yesterday's event, we will redouble our efforts on this important issue."
Netting has been a topic of discussion in league circles for years; Thursday's incident merely revitalized a somewhat dormant debate. In 2015, the league issues a recommendation that every team install, maintain or extend nettings or screens in front of field-level seats between the dugouts to 70 feet within home plate.
"Major League Baseball prides itself on providing fans in our ballparks with unparalleled proximity and access to our players and the game taking place on the field," Manfred said in a statement when the recommendation was issued. "At the same time, it is important that fans have the option to sit behind protective netting or in other areas of the ballpark where foul balls and bats are less likely to enter. This recommendation attempts to balance the need for an adequate number of seating options with our desire to preserve the interactive pre-game and in-game fan experience that often centers around the dugouts, where fans can catch foul balls, see their favorite players up close and, if they are lucky, catch a tossed ball or other souvenir."