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Rays to expand Trop netting to comply with MLB

FILE - In this July 6, 2015, file photo, a fan is helped after being hit by a foul ball during the ninth inning of a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves in Milwaukee. Major League Baseball has recommended teams have protective netting between the dugouts for any field-level seats within 70 feet of home plate. The guidelines were issued Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015,  at the winter meetings following a season in which several fans were injured by foul balls, prompting MLB to study fan safety.(AP Photo/Morry Gash, File) NY173

FILE - In this July 6, 2015, file photo, a fan is helped after being hit by a foul ball during the ninth inning of a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves in Milwaukee. Major League Baseball has recommended teams have protective netting between the dugouts for any field-level seats within 70 feet of home plate. The guidelines were issued Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, at the winter meetings following a season in which several fans were injured by foul balls, prompting MLB to study fan safety.(AP Photo/Morry Gash, File) NY173

NASHVILLE — The Rays will expand netting to cover all field-level seating areas between the home plate sides of the dugouts to comply with Major League Baseball's new fan safety-driven recommendation.

Operations/facilities vice president Rick Nafe said they are currently looking at the logistics of covering the two exposed sections similarly to the 60-foot high product and cabling in place.

"So it looks to us like it's a pretty simplistic response in answer to Major League Baseball's request," he said from the Trop.

MLB made the recommendation, though not a mandate, in response to several recent incidents of fans being hit by balls and bats, and it also asked teams to increasingly educate fans to the risks. The tradeoff for some fans is the loss of intimacy to the field and potentially access to players, and MLB wants teams to make it clear to ticket-buyers before purchase if they will be behind the netting or not.

Nafe said he thinks the recommendation is a good one. "I don't think we're taking anything away from the fans that are there," he said.

Nafe said the team's spring facility in Port Charlotte is already in compliance as MLB's recommendation is for coverage within 70 feet of home plate. All minor-league teams also have been encouraged to comply.

Rays to expand Trop netting to comply with MLB 12/09/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 10:35pm]
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