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Manfred: All 30 teams will have expanded protective netting in 2020

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Speaking to the media on Wednesday at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, commissioner Rob Manfred said that all 30 teams will have expanded protective netting at their stadiums. It will extend to at least beyond the far end of the dugout. Some teams will have it extend further, even all the way to the foul pole.

A handful of teams began the effort to expand protective netting on their own last year after a young child was struck in the head by an Albert Almora foul ball in June. The fan suffered a fractured skull, subdural bleeding, brain contusions, brain edema, and severe seizures. Almora was visibly shaken as the game went into a brief delay. In the aftermath, the Braves, Astros, White Sox, Royals, Dodgers, Marlins, Pirates, Rangers, Blue Jays, Nationals, and Orioles were among the teams to announce efforts to extend protective netting at their ballparks. Now the rest of the league will join them.

Japanese baseball teams have lots of protective netting at their stadiums and have for years. Both the fans and the players seem to be happy with it. Netting is something a vocal minority of fans will loudly complain and then forget about. Rich people have been sitting behind protective netting at ballparks (behind home plate) since time immemorial and it hasn’t seemed to be an issue.

Larry Walker to wear a Rockies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque

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I guess this came out the day he was elected but I missed it somehow: Larry Walker is going to have a Rockies cap on his Fall of Fame plaque.

While it was once solely the choice of the inductee, for the past couple of decades the Hall of Fame has had final say on the caps, though the request of the inductee is noted. This is done to prevent a situation in which a cap truly misrepresents history. This issue arose around the time Wade Boggs was inducted, as he reportedly had a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to pick their cap on his plaque which, to say the least, would’ve been unrepresentative.

There have been some mildly controversial picks in the past, and some guys who would seem to have a clear choice have gone with blank caps to avoid upsetting the fan base of one of his other teams, but Walker’s doesn’t seem all that controversial to me.

Walker played ten years in Colorado to six years in Montreal and two years in St. Louis. His numbers in Colorado were substantial better than in Montreal. His MVP Award, most of his Gold Gloves, most of his All-Star appearances, and all of his black ink with the exception of the NL doubles title in 1994 came with the Rockies too. Walker requested the Rockies cap, noting correctly that he “did more damage” in a Rockies uniform than anyplace else. And, of course, that damage is what got him elected to the Hall of Fame.

Still, I imagine fans of the old Expos will take at least some issue here. Those folks tend to be pretty possessive of their team’s old stars. It’s understandable, I suppose, given that they’ve not gotten any new ones in a decade or two. Add in the fact that Walker played for the 1994 Expos team onto which people love to project things both reasonable and unreasonable, and you can expect that the Expos dead-enders might feel a bit slighted.

Welp, sorry. A Rockies cap is the right choice.  And that’s Walker’s cap will feature.