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City Councilman Introduces Bill To Force the Mets and Yankees to Extend Protective Netting

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Back in 2015, in the wake of some high profile instances of batted balls and broken bats injuring fans in the stands, Major League Baseball issued some recommendations — not requirements, mere recommendations — to clubs to extend protective netting. Most have done so to some degree and others are planning on doing so. The lack of a requirement has caused this effort to proceed in fits and starts, however.

In New York, someone is trying to impose some uniformity. A city councilman. From the Daily News:

Maybe it will take the action of City Councilman Rafael Espinal, who is introducing a bill into legislature that would make it law for all ballparks in New York City, minor league as well as major, to extend protective netting all the way to each foul pole.

Espinal, who explains his reasoning in a column in the Daily News, is in a position to exert influence merely by introducing the bill into legislature.

His column is here.

Espinal says he’d prefer to not legislate the matter but, rather, hope his bill prods them to act. Given that he’s calling for netting to go all the way to the foul poles, which is far farther than any other team does with its nets, I suspect it will.

Ultimately, I think Major League Baseball passively recommending, as opposed to requiring, clubs to extend netting was a pretty weak move. It was inevitable that, eventually, it would invite this sort of thing.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.