Netting at Astros' stadium to be extended after 2-year-old hurt: 'Fan experience is a top priority'

HOUSTON -- A little more than two months after a 2-year-old girl was struck by a foul ball at an Astros game, the MLB club announced Thursday, Aug. 8 the netting at Minute Maid Park in Houston will be extended.

In a press release, the Astros said the protective material will go farther down the left-field and right-field lines to cover more seats. The new netting will be knot-less, which the team says will improve viewing.

"Fan experience is always a top priority for the Astros," the team said in a statement. "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."

It will be installed by Aug. 19, when the Astros begin a homestand.

Calls for increased fan safety at ballparks began in May when a foul ball hit the girl during a game between the Chicago Cubs and Astros at Minute Maid Park. The girl sustained a fractured skull, subdural bleeding, brain contusions and a brain edema, according to her family's attorney.

In 2018, Major League Baseball announced that all 30 ballparks were extending protective netting to at least the far ends of both dugouts, though there are clubs that go beyond those guidelines.