Orioles to extend protective netting beyond dugouts at Camden Yards, Ed Smith Stadium

Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Baseball

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles will extend the protective netting at Camden Yards for the upcoming season, joining a growing list of teams that are doing so in 2018.

Effective this season, netting at Camden Yards, which previously only extended behind the backstop between the near edges of the camera wells attached to the dugouts, will extend beyond the far edges of both dugouts, the club announced Wednesday. Netting at Ed Smith Stadium, the team's spring training ballpark in Sarasota, Fla., will also be extended beyond the dugouts.

At least 25 of the 30 major league teams plan to have extended netting in 2018. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels announced their intentions earlier this week.

"The Orioles informed Major League Baseball in the fall of last year that consistent with the club's emphasis on the safety and security of fans, the existing netting at Oriole Park at Camden Yards would be extended to cover and increased area prior to the 2018 season," the club said in a statement. "While we are still working with our design and engineering team on the specific dimensions of the new system, the additional netting is expected to extend from Section 16 through Section 58 at Oriole Park."

That means the netting would extend three sections beyond the far edge of each dugout.

The spotlight on fan safety grew late last season when a young girl was hit by a screaming foul ball at Yankee Stadium, and the incident prompted six teams to join the 10 others that had already installed additional safety netting to reach at least the far edge of both dugouts.

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The announcement, which is the team's first regarding extended netting since that incident, comes a day before Orioles single-game tickets for the 2018 season go on sale to the general public.

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