The Nationals are set to debut newly installed protective netting Tuesday night at Nationals Park.
The new protective netting stretches from the backstop, where protective netting traditionally covers, to each dugout, plus an additional 175 feet nearly down to the corner of each foul pole. The Nats already had netting extended to the corner of each dugout.
"Over the past few weeks, we have seen several fans injured by bats and balls leaving the field of play at other stadiums," Lerner wrote. "I could not help but become emotional last month watching the Astros-Cubs game when a four-year-old little girl was hit by a line drive. I can’t imagine what her parents must have felt in that moment.
"And to see the raw emotion and concern from Albert Almora Jr. was heartbreaking. Further extending the netting at Nationals Park will provide additional protection for our fans."
"Throughout Major League Baseball, there's been some tragic incidents this year, and in years past, that children and adults the same have been struck by line-drive foul balls or broken bats," said Scott Fear, Washington's VP of Public Safety and Security.
"So we at the Washington Nationals decided to extend the netting – we're one of the first teams to do it, there's a couple of other teams in Major League Baseball that have also done it – to make sure our fans are safe. And that's what this is all about. We want to protect our fans, the children, the adults, everyone that comes to the game, and make sure they have a great time without worrying about being hurt."
The Nats say the Ultra Cross Knotless Dyneema netting won't obstruct your view, as it's "95 percent see-through."
"It's an ultra-light net. It's very thin. It's easy to see through," said Fear. "And we expect our fans to still come out with their mitts and catch foul balls, because there'll be pop flies, there'll be bloopers that come over the net, and fans will still be able to have that experience. This is something we feel is going to be very positive and our fans will feel safe being here watching the game."
For fans concerned about the netting limiting opportunities to catch foul balls, Fear encouraged them to arrive early before games for batting practice.
With Monday's game against the Rockies postponed until Wednesday – to be made up as part of a split doubleheader (Game 1 at 1:05 p.m., Game 2 at 7:05 p.m.) – Tuesday's game will mark the park's debut of its newly extended netting.