Baseline netting required for MLB minor league teams by 2025

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All minor league teams will be required to install protective baseline netting by 2025, according to MLB and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. 

“We thank Senator Durbin for his steadfast leadership on this important issue and for his shared commitment towards enhancing fan safety across the PDL (Professional Development League) system, which has been a goal since the new organizational structure launched in 2021,” said Dan Halem, Deputy Commissioner, Major League Baseball. “Minor League Baseball is an exciting option for families to spend time together and experience professional baseball in an up close and personal way. By taking this action, our PDL Clubs have underscored their commitment to ensuring the safety of fans remains a top priority.”

The requirements for all 120 PDL ballparks include the following:
•    PDL Clubs are required to install netting from foul pole to foul pole unless the configuration of the ballpark makes such coverage unnecessary. 
•    The height requirement for the netting from behind the home plate to the end of each dugout will be standardized across the PDL system. 
•    PDL Clubs are to work with their respective facilities to complete installation as soon as practicable but in no event later than 2025 Opening Day. 
•    Teams will be subject to discipline for non-compliance, including significant fines.

In June 2019, multiple fan incidents resulting from a lack of protection from the ballpark resulted in serious injuries, and one case death. Noticing this, Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) wrote MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to advocate for more protection. 

In turn, MLB announced in December 2019 the requirement for netting in all 30 professional stadiums. In the ensuing season, every major league ballpark installed protective baseline netting. 

“In 2019, it was clear something had to be done to protect fans from foul balls being hit at high speeds into the stands. Because of the advocacy of fans and players, MLB made it a requirement to address ballpark safety by extending protective netting well beyond the end of each dugout for the 30 major league teams,” Durbin said.  

“Now, we are building on the progress made over the last three years so we can also attend minor league games with our kids and grandkids without fear for their safety, no matter where we’re seated. I want to thank MLB and minor league clubs for their efforts on this issue and for heeding my concerns for fan safety.”

A consultant on the project was retained to help advise the clubs, according to the release. Previously, the architecture finishing was left to the discretion of each ballclub. 

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