It’s Time For More Safety Netting In Baseball Stadiums

USA Today – A girl was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and carried out from the stands Wednesday afternoon, an incident that will likely spur more calls for the New York Yankees to extend protective netting behind home plate. 

Just six weeks after the Yankees said they would “seriously explore” extending the netting before the 2018 season following a similar incident, a girl was struck by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier in the bottom of the fifth inning. 

Horrible scene at Yankee Stadium yesterday. A gut wrenching moment. First of all, the girl looks like she’s going to be ok so that’s a blessing. You could see the players were all visibly rattled and emotional especially Todd Frazier. How can you expect a guy to step into the box after that?

This isn’t the first time this season that a fan has been struck with a ball at Yankee Stadium. In late July, an Aaron Judge 105mph line drive struck a fan in the head and that required immediate emergency assistance. You have the warnings in front of you on the seats that say to be alert for foul balls and other flying objects. However, how do you expect someone to get out of the way from a 100mph line drive? I don’t care who you are. You’re most likely getting hit.

Every Yankee said that they wouldn’t let their young kids sit in the unprotected areas behind the dugout. However, the Yankees continue to toy with the idea of extending the nets and they most likely won’t change it until next year (if they do anything at all). If a young girl being struck by a line drive isn’t a wake up call to change something, then I don’t know what is.

I hate to say it, but I’m afraid that the tipping point for ballparks to extend nets will be a death in the stands via foul ball / broken bat. Why do we have to wait until someone dies before the MLB takes action? Extending the nets is the right thing to do. I understand that there are warnings to be aware in those seats, but come on. Go to a game or turn on the TV and all you see are people looking at their phones. Are they really paying attention to the game 100% of the time? I’ll answer that for you: NO. You turn your head for one second and that could be the difference between life and death. It seems like an unnecessary risk to me.

Listen to the players. They are the ones out there on the field everyday. If they think it’s unsafe right now especially for children, why should we not listen to them? Putting up a net will not ruin the “fan experience.” In fact, I think it will encourage more fans with children to sit closer because it will be safer. I remember going to the stadium growing up and sitting in box seats. It was the coolest thing ever. You feel so close to the players and you almost feel like you’re apart of the action. I want more fans to feel that way and not have to worry about the 105mph line drive to the head.

Putting up more netting won’t ruin the game. It will save a life.

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