June 5, 2024

Mookie Betts Falls into Netting

MLB Netting Rules

Mookie Betts Falls into Netting

The Padres and Dodgers played at Dodgers Stadium on April 12, 2024. Luis Campusano led off the top of the seventh and hit a foul fly ball in shallow left field beyond the third base dugout. Dodgers’ shortstop Mookie Betts made a leaping catch that carried him into the netting.

Ruleball Comments

A fielder running into any screen or protective netting set on a field facing wall or railing (e.g., a backstop or protective netting along the first or third base lines) shall be considered as having entered the stands if, in the judgment of the umpire, neither foot is on or above the playing surface, even if he rebounds immediately back onto the field.

A fielder who, in the judgment of the umpire, becomes stuck in the safety netting should be considered to be in the stands regardless of the location of his feet in relation to the playing field.  

A fielder is permitted to lean against the netting and use his hands or head to hold himself up and prevent him from falling into the stands. If a fielder, after making a legal catch on the playing surface, steps or falls into any out-of-play area, including the protective netting, at any point while in possession of the ball, the base runners shall be entitled to advance one base and the ball shall be dead. In the above play, because Betts did not have either foot above the playing surface when he landed un the netting, any runner on base would automatically advance one base.

Extended nettings are treated like an outfield wall. Balls that land in fair territory and bounce off the net are in play, as are errant throws.

If a foul ball hits the net, the play is dead; if a fair ball hits it, the play is live. 

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant/analyst:  Angels, D’backs, Dodgers, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago. 

Have a question or comment for one of our experts?

Don't strike out!

Become a part of the largest baseball rules community in the world!

Get free access to baseball forums, rules analysis and exclusive email content from current and former Major League Baseball players and umpires.