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And make it mandatory, not just "guidelines," for all 30 teams. No child should be at risk of what happened at Yankee Stadium last night

Major League Baseball…extend the protective netting so this doesn’t happen to another child


By —— Bio and Archives--September 21, 2017

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If you read this column regularly you know that I am a big baseball fan. I go to a lot of games. This year alone I’ve attended 30 Detroit Tigers games in addition to another eight minor league games. In my lifetime I’ve gone to hundreds of ballgames.

And I’m going to confess something to you: I don’t like to sit close to home plate, especially not in the area right behind the dugout. Why? Because I’m terrified of the sort of rocket line-drive foul ball that last night struck a two-year-old in Yankee Stadium. It sounds like she is going to be OK in the long run, although everyone is being somewhat cryptic with the information they’re releasing.

If you read this column regularly you know that I am a big baseball fan. I go to a lot of games. This year alone I’ve attended 30 Detroit Tigers games in addition to another eight minor league games. In my lifetime I’ve gone to hundreds of ballgames.

And I’m going to confess something to you: I don’t like to sit close to home plate, especially not in the area right behind the dugout. Why? Because I’m terrified of the sort of rocket line-drive foul ball that last night struck a two-year-old in Yankee Stadium. It sounds like she is going to be OK in the long run, although everyone is being somewhat cryptic with the information they’re releasing.

We’re not going to show you the actual moment when the ball hit the child, but here are two reaction shots that really tell the story. The first is of the Yankees’ Todd Frazier, who was the hitter and was so distraught he looked like he couldn’t even continue in the game. The other is various Yankees and Twins players reacting in horror to what they were seeing:

The ball is said to have come off Frazier’s bat going well over 100 miles per hour. If you’re sitting as close as this family was, you have less than a second to react between when the ball leaves the bat and when it’s right on you. Often the ball has backspin. It’s hard for a major league baseball player with a glove to catch a ball like that. It’s almost impossible for you to do it, and it’s obviously impossible for a two-year-old.

Frankly, this should have been done already. It should have been mandated leaguewide. Last year a woman at a Red Sox game suffered severe injuries after being hit by a bat flying in from the field. Earlier this year an eight-year-old boy was hit by a foul ball and required immediate medical attention. There is no reason this needs to be happening.

I realize this sort of risk has always been inherent to the game of baseball, and that there’s no way you can take the risk out of the game entirely. I realize that extended netting means there are more people looking through the nets at the game instead of having a “clear” view. And I realize that there will be some cost involved in doing this.

But none of that justifies waiting even one more season to implement this on a leaguewide basis.

First, just because a risk has long existed doesn’t mean it must continue to exist if there’s a reasonable way to mitigate it. Second, looking through netting is not that big a deal. The fans who sit right behind home plate are looking through a net, and those are considered the best seats in the house. After a few hitters you get used to it and you don’t even notice the net anymore. Third, most of the nets are strung from a line that stretches all the way to the corners, so there’s really no reason you couldn’t extend them at least to the end of the dugout or perhaps the next section using existing infrastructure. If you have to redirect the cable a little bit, then do it.

Some will complain that this limits player interaction with fans, such as the occasional toss of a ball to a fan in the stands. Yes. That’s true. And it’s much less important than preventing what happened last night in New York.

If you really don’t want to look through a net, you can sit farther down the line, or in the upper deck. I don’t think it’s necessary to extend the net all the way to the foul poles, since the additional distance makes the risk of injury much less as sections get farther away from home plate. But the nets should go at least to the ends of the dugouts, and in my mind probably one section beyond that. That would have protected the young girl who got hurt last night.

There is really no further justification for delay on this. MLB needs to order it done by the start of next season, period.

By the way, if you want to make a reasonable argument against this in the comment section, that’s fine. However, since we’re talking about two-year-old nearly getting killed by a baseball, I’m warning you now that anyone who refers to what I’m proposing as “the further wussification of sports” will be permanently banned from comment on this site immediately. No second chances. No mercy. If you say that about this, you’re just a jerk.



Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.com

A new edition of Dan’s book “Powers and Principalities” is now available in hard copy and e-book editions. Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.

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