The Pirates are the latest team to announce the extension of protective netting. President Frank Coonelly announced on Thursday that the netting will be extended all the way near the foul poles in the outfield corners. In a statement to the media, Coonelly said:
As we stated in 2017 when we were one of the first Major League Clubs to extend out protective netting to the ends of the dugouts, fan safety at PNC Park is of paramount importance. It is heartbreaking to see a fan injured by an object leaving the field of play at any ballpark. We have once again engaged our netting experts to reevaluate our protective netting design and to immediately develop a plan to extend the protective netting at PNC Park farther down the baselines. While we have put these efforts on a very fast track, we are committed to developing the right plan for PNC Park — one that will increase fan safety while also preserving and enhancing the overall game day experience to the greatest degree possible. We will share more information with our season ticket holders, fans, and other partners as our plans are finalized.
The White Sox, Nationals, and Rangers have also announced plans to extend netting at their respective ballparks.
Last month, Cubs outfielder Albert Almora hit a line drive foul ball into the stands at Minute Maid Park. The ball unfortunately struck a two-year-old girl in the head. As the fan received medical attention, Almora was visibly shaken up. He and teammate Kris Bryant called for extended protective netting after the game. We later learned that the girl suffered a fractured skull, subdural bleeding, brain contusions, brain edema, and severe seizures.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has said that he prefers to allow teams to decide for themselves whether or not to extend protective netting rather than issue a league-wide directive. The aforementioned four teams should be the start of a majority of teams choosing to extend netting.
Buster Posey has opted out of the 2020 MLB season. The San Francisco Giants have issued a statement saying that they “fully support Buster’s decision. Buster is an integral part of our team and will be sorely missed, but we look forward to having him back in 2021.”
Posey and his wife are adopting identical twin girls who were born prematurely and who are currently in the NICU and will be for some time. They are stable, but obviously theirs is not a situation that would be amenable to the demands of a baseball season as it’s currently structured.
Poset had missed all of the Giants’ workouts so far, Recently he said, “I think there’s still some reservation on my end as well. I think I want to see kind of how things progress here over the next couple of weeks. I think it would be a little bit maybe naive or silly not to gauge what’s going on around you, not only around you here but paying attention to what’s happening in the country and different parts of the country.” He said that he talked about playing with his wife quite a great deal but, really, this seems like a no-brainer decision on his part.
In opting out Posey is foregoing the 60-game proration of his $21.4 million salary. He is under contract for one more year at $21.4 million as well. The Giants can pick up his 2022 club option for $22 million or buy him out for $3 million.
A veteran of 11 seasons, Posey has earned about $124 million to date. Which seems to be the common denominator with players who have opted out thus far. With the exception of Joe Ross and Héctor Noesí, the players to have opted out thus far have earned well above $10 million during their careers. Players that aren’t considered “high risk” and elect not to play do not get paid and do not receive service time.