The Los Angeles Dodgers announced extended netting at Dodger Stadium will be in place prior to the club beginning a six-game homestand on Labor Day. Earlier this month, the Dodgers added eight feet to the height of current netting in place behind home plate and above both dugouts.
That increased it to 33 feet in height, and the 124 feet in added extension runs the protective netting from both dugouts to the elbow bend in front of the baseline seats on field level.
“The decisions to both raise and extend the nets at Dodger Stadium were made after extensive data analysis and consultation with both players and fans,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said.
“We think these extensions to the netting greatly enhance fan safety while also keeping Dodger Stadium the welcoming and comfortable place it has always been.”
Other teams that have committed to extending protective nettings all the way down or close to the foul poles at their respective home stadiums include the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals.
The Dodgers first extended the screen behind home plate at Dodger Stadium in accordance with recommendations from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred before the 2016 season. Then in February 2018, the club extended netting to the ends of each dugout, both at Dodger Stadium and Camelback Ranch.
Cody Bellinger and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts are among the many notable figures in the organization who voiced their support in extending the netting at Dodger Stadium.
Bellinger was visibly shaken up after a line drive off his bet went into the stands and struck a fan in the head. She was transported to a local hospital out of precaution before being released. “I would assume that would be a smart decision (to extend the netting),” Bellinger said at the time.
“Just to protect those people in the front row who don’t have enough reaction time. I mean, I’m over at first base and have to be ready. They’re 10 feet over from me. Yeah, maybe, just to protect the people in the first few rows. That’s a scary situation.”
Rich Hill also called for increased protection at all 30 MLB stadiums in the wake of multiple fan incidents that have taken place this season.
The old netting has been donated to the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and will be used to help refurbish Jackie Robinson Stadium. In partnership with Kershaw’s Challenge, LADF will break ground in October for the Gonzales Park Dodgers Dreamfields.