NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Major League Baseball issued recommendations about fan safety on Wednesday at the Winter Meetings, and the Rangers are studying the issue, even though they are currently in compliance.
Among the recommendations is that, "Clubs are encouraged to implement or maintain netting (or another effective protective screen or barrier of their choosing) that shields from line-drive foul balls all field-level seats that are located between the near ends of both dugouts (i.e., the ends of the dugouts located closest to home plate, inclusive of any adjacent camera wells) and within 70 feet of home plate."
The Rangers already have such a netting.
"The Texas Rangers are strongly committed to the safety of fans attending our games," the club said in a statement. "While the protective netting that is currently in place at Globe Life Park in Arlington meets the recommendations that were announced today by Major League Baseball, the Rangers are continuing to explore further options in this very important area of our fan experience."
Major League Baseball also wants to increase education for fans sitting close to home plate on the need to pay attention. The Commissioner's Office will be working with the clubs and online ticketing sellers to identify ways to provide customers with additional information at the point of sale about which seats are (and are not) behind netting.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said: "Major League Baseball prides itself on providing fans in our ballparks with unparalleled proximity and access to our players and the game taking place on the field. At the same time, it is important that fans have the option to sit behind protective netting or in other areas of the ballpark where foul balls and bats are less likely to enter.
"This recommendation attempts to balance the need for an adequate number of seating options with our desire to preserve the interactive pregame and in-game fan experience that often centers around the dugouts, where fans can catch foul balls, see their favorite players up close and, if they are lucky, catch a tossed ball or other souvenir.
"I am confident that this recommendation will result not only in additional netting at Major League ballparks but also draw additional attention to the need for fans who make the choice not to sit behind netting to be prepared for the possibility of foul balls and bats entering the stands."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.