Please extend those nets

Published 6:00 am Friday, June 28, 2019

Being a big baseball fan, I am in total agreement with the outcry for the netting at major league ballparks, and for even that matter any baseball field, being extended from home plate to the foul poles in the outfield for the protection of the fans that attend the games.

If the last two incidents that have occurred as of late at Minute Maid Park where the Houston Astros call home and most recently in a game involving the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

In the game at Minute Maid Park, the Chicago Cubs Albert Almora, Jr. ripped a fastball right back into the stands faster than the speed at which it was thrown striking a two-year-old girl. As a result of being hit, the girl suffered a skull fracture and had a seizure.

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She also suffered associated subdural bleeding, brain contusions and brain edema according to an attorney who has been retained by the family.

Almora realized instantly after hitting the shot what had happened and was visibly distraught at what had occurred requiring his coaches and teammates to console him in his worry for the fan.

It’s not the player’s fault this is happening as they are only getting paid to do a job and that is to hit a baseball as hard as they possibly can.

The fault falls squarely on the shoulders of the owners of the team to make sure that their playing field is safe for those who pay for the salaries of their ball team.

In the game at Dodger Stadium, outfielder Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers sent a screamer at a young fan that sat just beyond where the netting stopped.

Again, Bellinger was visibly shaken by the incident and had to take a short break to regroup before stepping into the batter’s box to continue his at-bat.

There have been other instances where fans have been struck including a woman dying last August from blunt force trauma after being hit by a foul ball once again at Dodger Stadium.

In my opinion, there should be netting at any baseball field from the backstop to the foul poles as I have witnessed several fans over the years struck by foul balls at youth league games, middle school and high school games, collegiate games, and professional baseball.

It’s too late after someone is seriously injured or even killed to step back and acknowledge what the outcome would have been if netting had been properly installed.

Even baseball players at the Major League level have called for their management groups to step up and extend netting. These are the same players who only request seating for their family in areas where netting is made available.

They know the dangers and have seen the repercussion of not having the netting in place.

It seems that teams are more concerned about issues like the pace of play rather than taking the initiative to take care of their most vital asset—their fans.

Hopefully, these instances will reopen the need to take a closer look at expanding netting to protect fans at all levels of baseball.

But for the time being, when someone screams out heads, you better watch yours while attending a baseball game.