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New smokeless tobacco ban will affect Busch Stadium

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A new ban will prohibit all smokeless tobacco products at sports venues in St. Louis, Koran Addo of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The bill was approved by the Board of Aldermen on Friday and is expected to take effect in all high school, college and professional stadiums within the city limits — including the Cardinals’ Busch Stadium.

Under the ban, players, staff and fans will not be able to use any smokeless tobacco products, including chew, snuff and dip. A $100 fine will be levied for a first offense, followed by $250 for a subsequent violation and $500+ for any violation after that.

The measure will make St. Louis the ninth U.S. city with such a ban and will make the Cardinals the 12th MLB team to prohibit smokeless tobacco products in their stadium. While the new Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that new players must abstain from smokeless tobacco, several cities have not yet enacted a ban that extends to everyone within their sports venues.

California is expected to enforce a similar law that was passed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2015. The statewide ban will take effect in Anaheim, Oakland and San Diego prior to the 2017 season.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.