When the Dodgers installed the extended protective netting back in 2019, there weren’t a whole lot of arguments from anyone. Fans were getting hit often due to the nets only covering a portion of the home plate area, and big leaguers can really hit the ball hard.
But that netting has also brought a change in how teams can play defense. We’ve seen it down the line in the outfield when guys like Mookie Betts are trying to pluck a ball from the stands. But we’ve also seen it at first base quite often for the Dodgers.
Max Muncy is playing the best defense of his life right now. So when he plucked 2 balls over by the netting this week, it wasn’t much of a surprise. Max recently talked about the difficulty of navigating that obstacle and how it can actually help.
It’s not like in the past where you could possibly reach over and grab something out of the stands. Just understanding that you can almost go a little harder into the wall because that’s going to stop you from causing real harm.
Funny enough, it didn’t seem to bother Max a whole lot. The Dodgers first baseman made 2 plays this week against the Mariners that were both difficult over by the netting.
These catches happened on back-to-back nights.
a glitch in the Matrix pic.twitter.com/dSfpBkDroH
— Cut4 (@Cut4) May 13, 2021
Before that netting was installed, we’ve seen plenty of Dodgers players go over the wall trying to make a catch. It’s now apparently made it so that players don’t have to worry about hurting themselves or someone else in the stands.
Based on what Max was able to do this week, it’s working out just fine. Muncy is leading all first baseman in MLB with 5 defensive runs saved. He’s a big reason why the Dodgers’ defense didn’t have a total meltdown during the losing stretch.