CINCINNATI — Major League Baseball is likely to wait until next season before making any changes to improve fan safety.
A fan at Fenway Park was hospitalized after she was hit by a broken bat while sitting along the third-base line on June 5. MLB is studying whether netting should be expanded.
“I don’t like to be reactive. Obviously, we had a very serious injury. It concerns us,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday during a meeting with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. “But making a major change in the game in a reactive mode I believe is a mistake. I think the most likely course for us is that the evaluation will continue this season and whatever change, if we decide to make one, will be something that will be a new regulation applicable to the clubs for next year.”
Teams may increase safety netting on their own.
“We set minimum standards,” Manfred said. “Obviously the clubs remain free to do what they want to do in their own ballparks.”
An Oakland Athletics season ticket-holder sued MLB in federal court in California this week, asking that safety netting be installed for the entire length of the foul lines.
Players’ association head Tony Clark said the union could be part of fan safety discussions.
“Obviously, you want everyone who comes to the ballpark to be safe and enjoy the ballpark, and we believe there are some opportunities to address some of those issues to provide that kind of safety support here moving forward,” he said. “It is definitely a topic that players will want to engage in, have engaged in, are looking forward to engaging in going forward.”