Extended netting at Dodger Stadium has first success story

Scott Van Slyke's broken bat landed right in front of this seat Friday night.

Scott Van Slyke’s broken bat landed right in front of this seat Friday night.

By Cary Osborne

The first save at Dodger Stadium in 2016 wasn’t by a pitcher. The Dodgers and Major League Baseball earned it.

In the eighth inning of last night’s game, Scott Van Slyke fouled off a Huston Street pitch. His bat splintered. A large, sharp chunk flew rapidly in the direction of the Lexus Dugout Club seats next to the Dodger dugout, but was stopped by netting.

On December 9, the Dodgers announced, in accordance with recommendations to all teams by Major League Baseball, that they would extend the netting behind home plate to cover the seating area between the portion of the dugouts closest to home plate. With the height and direction the bat took, the previous netting wouldn’t have protected Van Slyke’s bat. The portion of the Lexus Club Dugout seats where the bat flew toward was previously only covered by a short net. The bat bounced high off the net right in front of a boy.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Dodger manager Dave Roberts on the way Van Slyke’s bat broke. “I’ve seen a lot of broken bats, but to see a bat splinter in half like that that was different. It was very fortunate the screen was extended because at that point it was very dangerous. Kudos to Major League Baseball.

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