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Diamondbacks to extend Chase Field safety netting farther in 2020

A fan cheers as Steven Souza Jr. #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stands at bat in the fourth inning of the MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field on September 6, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have extended their netting in recent years to protect fans from foul balls, but they’re doing it even more in 2020.

D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that starting next year, the protective netting at Chase Field will extend further. Currently, it spans to the far ends of each dugout.

So where exactly will it go?

“We’ve got odd dimensions, so that’s one of the things we’ve been looking at, and there’s a cutout,” Hall said on Thursday morning. “Our lines go … down the line and then it jets in on both sides. It takes an odd angle and goes toward the bullpen and foul pole. But probably it makes sense to go at least to there, where the indentation goes back. So we’re looking at that. I think that will work for sure, but not until next year.”

The D-backs will not be the first team to make the move. In July of this year, the Chicago White Sox were the first team to play a home game with netting extending from foul pole to foul pole. The White Sox announced the safety measure in June, a week after a foul ball at the park sent a woman to the hospital with her head bleeding.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In July, in Cleveland, another fan was hurt by a foul. Indians infielder Francisco Lindor said he was told his line drive put a 3-year-old boy in the hospital.

“I can’t live with myself if anything were to happen to any fan, especially one who cannot protect herself or himself, if it’s someone elderly or young, and when you see that happen time and time again, there’s no reason not to extend it,” Hall said. “And when you go to other countries, you go to Japan, and they are foul pole to foul pole, always have been, having just as much fun.

“And the folks that were upset with it being extended in front of them in the dugout, now they get it. And I always hear from them, and our fans are terrific to say to me, ‘Now I get it, thank you so much.’ … And so why wouldn’t we? And we’re going to.”

MLB mandated prior to last season that protective netting in ballparks extend to the ends of the dugout, which hadn’t been the case in most baseball stadiums prior to that. Now, extending the screens even further is gaining traction throughout baseball.

“It’s a great idea,” former Diamondbacks pitcher and current White Sox pitcher Evan Marshall said via The Associated Press. “It’s a shame it wasn’t done sooner and just almost a standard across baseball, I think. Finally the players are speaking out because everybody is tired of seeing people get hit.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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