The Jackson County Legislature on Tuesday passed a resolution urging the Kansas City Royals to add safety netting along the first- and third-base sides of Kauffman Stadium to better protect fans in field level seats from getting hit by foul balls and broken bats.
Already there is netting behind home plate.
But last month, Major League Baseball urged all 30 big-league ballclubs to extend protective barriers 70 feet down the baselines.
The suggestion came in response to criticism and legal action alleging that not enough was being done to protect fans from injury. About 1,750 fans a year are injured by fouls and pieces of broken bats.
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Last summer, a woman suffered a life-threatening injury when part of a bat flew into the stands at Fenway Park in Boston. She recovered, but she needed brain surgery.
Also last summer, an Oakland Athletics fan filed a class action lawsuit seeking more protection.
So far, the Royals have not added screening. The team is doing a feasibility study, but it’s not finished, a spokesman said.
“We’ve still got time should any changes be necessary,” said Mike Swanson, vice president of communications and broadcasting.
The county owns the Truman Sports Complex but has no power to require the team to add safety netting. The team’s lease is with the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, the state agency that oversees Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums.
But Frank White, the newly appointed county executive and a former Royals player, said it is important that the county make its wishes known.
“Being a county-owned stadium, safety is an issue,” he said.
The resolution calls for extending the netting to the far ends of both dugouts.
Several other teams already have screening or have endorsed Major League Baseball’s stance, saying the screening does not have to interfere with fans’ views of the action.