On Thursday, the Houston Astros announced they will extend and upgrade the netting at Minute Maid Park ahead of the club's upcoming homestand that begins Aug. 19. The netting will cover more distance down the foul lines and will be "knot-less" to improve the viewing experience. Here's the club's statement from a press release on the subject:
"Fan experience is always a top priority for the Astros. The Astros have followed Major League Baseball's guidelines regarding netting while providing fans with a choice as to whether they sit in areas with or without protective netting. These changes will improve the fan's experience and increase the number of seats behind protective netting. Fans will continue to have the option to sit in areas without netting."
Here's a visual showing how many more fans will be protected once the new netting is installed:
The new, extended netting at Minute Maid Park will be up when the Astros return to town Aug. 19. https://t.co/0DPLD8g7Wa via @houstonchron— Matt Young (@Chron_MattYoung) August 8, 2019
You may recall that a 2-year-old fan was struck by a foul ball during a May contest between the Astros and Chicago Cubs. That child suffered a skull fractured and a seizure as a result. On Wednesday, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth urged Major League Baseball to provide data on fan injuries from foul balls, per Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated:
Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are now calling on Rob Manfred for MLB to provide data on fan injuries from foul balls: pic.twitter.com/au3mbtoPxc— Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccellieri) August 7, 2019
In the time since the May incident at Minute Maid Park, other teams have prioritized fan safety by extending their netting. It stands to reason any holdouts will follow suit before next season.