Kansas City Royals plan to extend netting at Kauffman Stadium

Kauffman netting.jpg
Posted at 2:40 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 23:07:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's not a matter of if but when additional protective netting will be installed at Kauffman Stadium.

While there isn't a specific timetable, Kansas City Royals officials hope to install it sooner rather later.

The discussion comes after a foul ball traveling 91 mph hit a young girl in the stands during the seventh inning Sunday of a game against the Detroit Tigers.

The 12-year-old remained conscious after getting hit. Her family decided took her to the hospital, where she stayed overnight for observation.

She's expected to be OK, according to the Royals.

When it comes to netting and protecting the fans in the stands, the Royals have led the way in the MLB. They were among the first teams to install protective netting above both dugouts in 2016.

The girl and her parents at Sunday's game were sitting in Section 116, which is just beyond the third-base dugout.

Currently, the protective netting ends at the dugout, but that may soon change.

"Fan safety is No. 1," Royals VIce President of Publicity Toby Cook said. "The last thing we want is for somebody to get hurt at a baseball game."

The Royals' front office is in the midst of a study on how and where to install the additional netting.

"We knew that, at some point, it was very likely that we were going to extend the netting, but it’s not as easy as just throwing up netting," Cook said.

The goal is to make sure attending a game is safer for everyone and to avoid scary scenes like the one Sunday or the incident earlier this season in Houston, where a 2-year-old girl suffered a fractured skull from a foul ball.

The Royals organization plans to make changes to the current set-up and that might happen before the season ends.

"We don't want any of our fans coming out here to get hurt," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That's the last thing we want."

Several Royals players also weighed in on Sunday's incident

"It makes you kind of jumpy when you see stuff like that, because nobody wants to ever hurt anybody," outfielder Billy Hamilton said. "You don't do it intentionally. It's just the way the ball goes and everything."

Players are glad to hear to more netting is on its way.

"It's frustrating for us when we see it happening and we know what's going on," All-Star Whit Merrifield said.

According to the team, after the game several Royals players signed the baseball that struck the girl and gave it to her. The Tigers player who hit it, outfielder Christin Stewart, also signed it.

The Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles are among the teams already planning to extend netting.