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MLB announces all stadiums will have expanded protective netting in 2018

Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, opened on March 31, 2003. It seats over 42,000 people and looks out toward the Ohio River. The Reds are one of the oldest teams in Major League Baseball and have played in several ball parks and stadiums throughout their lifespan, including Riverfront Stadium (GABP’s predecessor), and Crosley Field (the Reds’ now-demolished historic ball park in the West End). / Image: Phil Armstrong, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 7.12.17

LOS ANGELES (AP/WKRC) — All 30 major league ballparks will have expanded protective netting that reaches to at least the far ends of each dugout by opening day.

Major League Baseball made the announcement Thursday ahead of an owners' meeting later in the day.

The Reds announced this past July that they were going to have extended netting by Opening Day of the 2018 season.

The netting, which currently extends from behind home plate to the beginning of each dugout, will be extended all the way to the end of each dugout.

MLB issued recommendations for protective netting or screens in December 2015, encouraging teams to have it in place between the ends of the dugouts closest to home plate. The push for an expansion increased last year after a series of spectator injuries.

A boy was struck on the head by a portion of Chris Carter's broken bat at Yankee Stadium on May 25, and a fan sitting beyond the first-base dugout was hit by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Aaron Judge on July 25. A young girl was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier on Sept. 20 and was hospitalized.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a prepared statement: "Providing baseball fans with a variety of seating options when they come to the ballpark, including seats behind protective netting, is important. Major League Clubs are constantly evaluating the coverage and design of their ballpark netting and I am pleased that they are providing fans an increased inventory of protected seats."

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