What to Know
- The Philadelphia Phillies plan to extend safety netting the length of the foul line inside Citizens Bank Park for the 2020 season.
- Foul netting currently runs from dugout to dugout in the South Philadelphia ballpark.
- The Phillies are one of 13 teams who have or plan to extend safety netting to the foul poles by the 2020 season.
The Philadelphia Phillies plan to install safety additional netting along the length of foul territory at Citizens Bank Park by next season.
The team on Tuesday confirmed the decision following the airing of an NBC News investigation into a surge in foul ball injuries at Major League Baseball parks across the United States and Canada.
Citizens Bank Park currently has safety netting behind home plate and down through the end of either dugout — covering sections 115-132. It stands as high as 10 feet behind home plate and 8 feet in other sections.
The dugout nets were installed during the 2017 season.
The new netting will be in place for the 2020 season, a team rep told NBC10 Tuesday morning. The rep initially said the netting would extend to each foul pole, but the team later revised that statement saying that they're looking at the logistics of netting the entire foul territory. Still, they said, that the netting would be extended.
The NBC News investigation highlighted injuries Phillies fan Dwayne Sowa sustained in a 2014 foul ball incident. Sowa was sitting in section 134 when a foul ball launched off Jimmy Rowlins's bat cracked open his skull.
"My wife heard it," he told the network. "It was the worst noise she's ever heard — the crack of my skull."
Sowa had surgery to address a crushed bone above his right eye. He still suffers lingering effects.
Thirteen teams have announced plans to extend netting including the Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates.