Another foul ball led to an injury at a baseball stadium over the weekend, sparking a request from two Illinois senators for data from Major League Baseball surrounding such instances and the league’s response to them.
Democratic senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin made the request and said they plan to create a working database on stadium safety.
Both senators addressed commissioner Rob Manfred in a letter in June, and followed up with another in light of two instances involving players for Chicago’s two teams. Albert Almora Jr. of the Cubs was in tears after a line drive foul ball off of his bat fractured the skull of a 2-year-old girl. White Sox rookie Eloy Jiminez sent a woman to the hospital two weeks later during a June 10 game against the Washington Nationals.
“We need more information to have a fuller picture,” the senators wrote in their more recent letter. “We currently rely on media coverage about foul ball injuries, which can lead to misinformation and confusion.
“Disclosing that information would help inform fans and their families about the safest locations to sit. We appreciate the effort individual teams have taken so far for the safety of fans. Transparency benefits everyone in making informed decisions and preserves the integrity of the game.”
The White Sox responded by installing protective netting from the dugout all the way to the foul pole during the All-Star break.
This week the Toronto Blue Jays became the eighth team to announce they would be extending the netting beyond the dugout, but not until the offseason.
Manfred said during the All-Star break that logisitics and some stadium construction would not allow for mandated installation of netting foul pole to foul pole. Instead, he’s leaving the decision in the hands of the individual teams.
“It’s very difficult given how far the clubs have gone with the netting to make changes during the year,” Manfred said. “Because they really are structural issues. But, because safety is so important, I’m sure that conversation will begin and continue into the offseason.”
—Field Level Media