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All 30 teams will have extended protective netting by Opening Day

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Yesterday the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays announced that they would join the parade of other teams who, in the past several months, have announced plans to extend protective netting to the far end of each dugout. With that, all 30 teams will have done so, Major League Baseball just announced.

Major League Baseball did not require them to do so. Rather, in December 2015, Major League Baseball announced a recommendation that clubs extend the netting, coupled with a “fan education” initiative about the dangers of flying balls. I and many others criticized these measures as (a) inadequate; and (b) geared more toward liability avoidance on the part of the league and its clubs than toward the best practices to improve safety measures. While a handful of clubs followed the recommendations in 2016 and 2017, for nearly two years those recommendations were, quite predictably, ignored by most clubs. It seemed it would take a fan being killed or a high-profile instance of a fan being severely injured by a foul ball in order to motivate clubs to make a change.

Seems that was true, because the tipping point on the netting came when a toddler was severely injured by a foul ball at a Yankees game late last season. It was in the wake of that incident that clubs changed their mind on the matter and began, one after another, to implement the changes.

It’s a shame that it took a child receiving multiple facial fractures and bleeding on the brain in order to make clubs come to their senses on this matter, but it’s good that they, finally, have come to their senses.

Mets’ McNeil carted off vs. Nats after crash into wall

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — New York Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil was carted off the field Thursday after crashing into the left field wall in the first inning to rob the Washington Nationals’ Asdrubal Cabrera of a two-run extra-base hit.

McNeil, a natural infielder who has been manning both outfielder corners for the Mets since last year, raced at full speed to the warning track and made an impressive lunging catch for the final out of the inning. He crashed into the wall with both arms extended and raised his glove hand as he fell to indicate he had the ball.

But McNeil was in obvious pain as he covered his eyes with both hands and yelled before flinging his glove off. He briefly tried getting up but only made it a few steps with a trainer and manager Luis Rojas before sitting back down.

McNeil was able to walk to a cart on the warning track before being driven off the field.

The Mets said in the fourth inning McNeil was still being evaluated and an update would be provided after the game.

McNeil, who has started at third base and left field this season, is batting .293 with seven RBIs in 16 games. He made the All-Star team last season and is a career .319 hitter in 212 games.

Billy Hamilton pinch-hit for McNeil in the bottom half of the inning.