Illinois’ Senators Are Calling for More Ballpark Safety in MLB

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Illinois’ senators are putting pressure on Major League Baseball to step up their fans’ safety at ballparks. Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth said in a letter to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred this week that MLB should “collect and report data about fan injuries.” Durbin and Duckworth have previously called on all 30 major league teams to extend protective netting to the foul poles at their stadiums. In the letter sent Tuesday the senators asked for an injury registry to be provided to the public to help understand safety measures that various teams are implementing.

Last month, the Chicago White Sox became the first major league team to extend protective netting from foul pole to foul pole. The safety measure was announced a week after a foul ball at the park sent a woman to the hospital with her head bleeding.

In their letter, Durbin and Duckworth cited a 2014 report by Bloomberg News estimating that 1,800 fans are hurt by foul balls each season, a rate of roughly two fans injured for every two games played. They noted the report is five years old and leaves many unanswered questions, such as which areas of ballparks are the safest in which to sit, that MLB could address by disclosing data.