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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.

Nationals virtually unveil 2019 World Series rings

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On Sunday evening, the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals unveiled their championship rings online. The Nats took down the Astros in seven hard-fought games last October to win their first Fall Classic in franchise history, with starter Stephen Strasburg winning MVP honors.

As the video highlights about the ring, the Nationals honored “Baby Shark,” a children’s song that became part of the team’s identity last year thanks to reserve outfielder Gerardo Parra. The ring also has all kinds of mementos referencing the Nationals’ triumphs throughout the years, including a reference to 2006, when the Lerner family bought the franchise.

It is a shame that, due to the global pandemic, the Nationals haven’t been able to properly get their rings like past championship winners. But they will, in due time. For now, the players can look forward to receiving their rings in the mail.