Some fans are complaining, but the players love the extended netting

32 Comments

One of the larger rules/context changes of the offseason was Major League Baseball’s, well, encouragement, of teams to extend protective netting farther down the lines than it had been in the past. Most clubs have done this.

I’ve heard a lot of fans complaining to me about this. Which was fun because all of the complaining came before any games were played this year, but that’s how complaining goes sometimes. They’re worried about sightlines and the intimacy of the ballpark and all of that jazz and they really enjoy tut-tutting people who don’t pay full attention to every game and, I guess, stand ready to snag a line drive foul ball traveling at 100 miles per hour like they are. A lot of tough, tough hombres who flash slick leather like to complain about netting, I’ve found.

But there’s one group of people who love the extended netting. The players. Bob Nightengale speaks to them today and several of them go on record talking about how disturbing it is to hit a foul into the stands that harms someone and how happy they are that the chances of that happening have been reduced to some degree. They know how fast the ball travels and they know that, even if you’re not on your cell phone or messing with your kids or talking to your seatmate that it’s not always possible to stop a screaming foul ball headed toward your face. No matter what the people who hate nets say.

I’m still critical of the specifics of Major League Baseball’s “policy” on netting, as I feel that it is more of a buck-passing, liability avoidance measure than it is a clear and concerted attempt to improve fan safety. Why not just mandate a certain standard? But that aside, more netting is good. You get used to it in five minutes if you’re at the game. And it makes a lot of people safer.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”