HOUSTON – On May 29, a 2-year-old girl was struck by a foul ball at an Astros game. The girl suffered a serious head injury and was hospitalized for several days, her family said.
The team has taken action an effort to try to make sure an accident like that never happens again.
The protective netting at Minute Maid Park has been extended.
The new netting is about 32 feet high and tapers as it stretches toward the outfield down the first and third baselines.
The netting is also knotless, in order to not obstruct the view of the field.
The new netting was installed as the 'Stros were on the road on their most recent trip to Baltimore, Chicago and Oakland.
While the netting now covers more of the crowd, there are still seats that are not obstructed by the netting.
There are no plans to extend the netting any further.
Here's what you should know about the netting:
Why was the netting extended?
All major league stadiums have protective netting, but there were calls to extend it at Minute Maid Park after a foul ball hit and seriously injured a little girl in May. The child’s family said she suffered a serious head injury.
How will the new netting impact the fan experience?
Clubhouse officials said fan experience is always a top priority for the Astros. They said the changes will improve the fan’s experience and there won’t be any missed opportunities for fans to interact with the players. Fans will continue to have the option of sitting in areas without netting.
What are fans saying?
Debbie Hughes: “Why not be safe, if you can? I think there are a lot of people here to enjoy the game and why wouldn't you keep everybody safe?”
Mark Bowlin: “The balls come into the stands. It's not just that I want to catch one. I'd like to see people catch it around us, so we lose a little bit of that excitement with the netting but I understand, you've got to think about the children and safety, too. It's hard to tell where those balls are going to go.”