Kasten said talks to extend the netting at Dodger Stadium have been ongoing since last year and that plans to extend the netting will be announced “in the next couple weeks." He said it was “likely” the netting will be installed before the end of this season.
“I can’t say that for sure, although I think it’s likely,” Kasten said. “For sure, something is going to be done. As for the exact timing, I don’t know that yet.”
In the bottom of the first inning of Sunday’s game, a foul ball off the bat of Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger hit a female fan in the head. She was sitting four rows up from the field along the first base side of the diamond, just beyond the protective netting that stretches to the end of each dugout at Dodger Stadium.
Here’s a “Good Morning America” clip that shows Bellinger’s immediate concern.
The unnamed fan stayed in her seat with an ice pack applied to her forehead for about 15 minutes before she was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests. She was alert and answering questions, the Associated Press reported, and Bellinger went over to check on her between innings.
He talked about the incident with reporters after the game, first answering a question about a 14-year-old female fan who ran onto the field to hug him in the eighth inning.
“It was weird, it was the first time that I think I’ve actually hit a fan,” Bellinger said. “I saw it literally hit her face, so it was tough.”
Last August, a 79-year-old fan named Linda Goldbloom died four days after getting hit by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium. The ball went over the netting behind home plate and struck Goldbloom in the head. She was the first fan killed by a batted ball at a major league stadium in nearly 50 years.
On May 29, a 4-year-old fan was struck by a foul ball off the bat of Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. during a game between the Cubs and Astros in Houston. Almora broke down in tears, and the incident sparked more debate about protective netting at baseball stadiums. Each team has netting that extends at least to the end of both dugouts, and some teams have planned more extensive protection.
The Nationals announced last week that they will extend their netting nearly to the foul poles, installing 315 feet of additional netting over the all-star break. The White Sox have announced similar plans, and the Rangers say they will have extended netting in place when their new stadium opens next year. The Tigers already have netting that extends well past the dugouts.
Bellinger seemed to suggest that extended netting should be in place at every big league stadium.
“I would assume that that would be a smart decision, just to protect those people in the front row,” he said.
Other players have expressed similar thoughts in recent weeks.
"It’s ridiculous that it takes a 4-year-old girl getting hit in the face for us to have this conversation,” Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta said after the Almora incident. “It’s just so unfortunate. I have two kids. Almora has kids. Nobody wants to see something like this happen.”