The White Sox and Illinois Sports Facilities Authority soon will extend the protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field to each foul pole, according to The Chicago Sun-Times’ Daryl Van Schouwen.
Chicago will be the first team in MLB to make this move after calls for more protective netting recently were reignited.
On May 29, a 4-year-old girl was struck by a foul ball hit by Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. at Minute Maid Park. On June 10, a woman was rushed to a hospital after being clobbered by a foul ball hit by the White Sox’s own Eloy Jimenez at Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago’s home turf.
One week later, the club is responding with action.
Calls for more netting are nothing new, especially among MLB players themselves. Some White Sox players, in particular, have been vocal about the changes they believe need to be made.
“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,” White Sox pitcher Evan Marshall said after the Almora foul ball incident. “There’s not a player in here that wouldn’t be in favor of that.”
“I’m a big believer in nets all around,” White Sox first baseman Yonder Alonso said. “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.”
The team expects changes to the netting will take place as soon as possible, although it’s currently unclear when exactly that will occur.