In Sports

Starting in 2018, Miller Park's netting will run to the outer edge of each dugout. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi)

Brewers announce plans to extend protective netting at Miller Park

The Milwaukee Brewers joined several other Major League Baseball teams on Friday in announcing plans to significantly extend the protective netting on the field level at Miller Park. The decision comes in the wake of the incident last month when a young girl was badly injured by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium.

The Miller Park netting was first extended after the 2015 season to the inside edge of each dugout to meet the standards set forth by MLB, which recommended that every team have field-level protection out to 70 feet within home plate. The Brewers' extension of the netting will now run beyond that, to the outer edge of each dugout.

After a toddler was struck in the face by a line-drive foul ball on Sept. 20 and rushed to a local hospital, many people around the game – including an emotional Todd Frazier, the player who hit the ball – called for increased netting at stadiums.

At the time, league Commissioner Rob Manfred said, "Over the past few seasons, MLB has worked with our clubs to expand the amount of netting in our ballparks. In light of (the Sept. 20) event, we will redouble our efforts on this important issue." More than a dozen teams now either have extended netting or, like the Brewers, announced plans to extend the protection.

It's an issue that hits close to home at Miller Park, where in 2014 and 2015 two women were struck by foul balls and required medical treatment. According to the Milwaukee attorney representing the area women, a Bloomberg study in 2014 found that more than 1,700 people that season were injured from foul balls at major-league games, which was approximately 50 individuals per team per year. With balls often traveling faster than 100 miles per hour, fans have about a half-second to react in many situations.

In its news release Friday, the Brewers said they were currently working with engineers and vendors on specifics related to the project. The new extension will be completed in time for the Brewers' 2018 home opener on Monday, April 2.


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