A bill introduced in the Ohio House chamber this week would require major and minor league baseball teams to install protective netting in their stadiums.
House Bill 479, if passed, states that these baseball stadiums would need netting from the “end of the dugout to the foul poles in both the left and the right fields.” Furthermore, this bill says the netting’s height must extend from the “top of the infield wall to a point equal to the height of the top row of seats of the section of seating being protected.”
Under the bill introduced by Reps. John Patterson and Rick Perales, the netting could be temporarily removed, but is required to be up during all baseball games.
If HB 479 becomes law, all professional baseball stadiums in Ohio would have to have protective netting up by April 1, 2021.
Patterson told News 5 Cleveland this bill is meant for fan’s safety.
“I know people want to see the players up close, so that’s why [the netting] is retractable,” he said. “Sitting behind home plate, you get used to the netting after awhile. I just think this is important, especially for younger people who tend to be more distracted with their electronic devices.”
Fans being hit by foul balls while watching baseball games happened frequently last decade. An NBC News investigation found at least 808 people had been injured by a baseball from 2012 to 2019. The injuries ranged from concussions to permanent vision laws.
Just last year at a Cleveland Indians game, shortstop Francisco Lindor hit a line drive foul ball that ended up hitting a three-year old boy in the stands. The boy went to the hospital and escaped major injuries, according Yahoo Sports.
After the incident, Lindor came out in support of protective netting.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was headed to somebody,” he told cleveland.com. “I hit it hard. I got over on the ball. It stinks. I encourage every MLB team to put the nets all the way down.”
The Cleveland Indians told News 5 Cleveland saying they were installing protective netting in their stadium for the 2020 season.
Last year, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that baseball teams will extend safety netting in all 30 stadiums for next season.
– – –
Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]