Everybody relax! We don’t need more nets at sporting events
Let me start this off by saying what happened to the young girl who was hit in the face by a foul ball off the bat of Yankees star Todd Frazier was a terrible accident. I couldn't imagine being the toddler's parents or Todd Frazier in that situation.
Frazier was visibly shaken during the game when he realized the ball injured someone in the stands. Video posted by the Yankees shows Frazier crouching and his head resting on the bat after realizing the ball hit a girl. The girl received medical attention at the stadium and then was taken to the hospital.
After the game, Frazier tweeted the following:
Frazier, a father himself with two young children, must have been agonizing over the accident last night. But that's just it, it was a terrible accident.
Frazier had mentioned in his post-game interview regarding protective netting that "I think the netting should be up. I think every stadium should have it, but we're not at that point yet. Hopefully, they took a look at all this and they figure something out."
For those that may not be aware, at many of the major league ballparks, including Yankee Stadium, there is protective netting in and around the home plate area. The idea is to protect those closest to the game from being hit with a foul ball. Many NHL teams have adapted the same netting behind the goal areas to protect fans from errant pucks shot into the stands.
Do we really need to all of a sudden run out and extend the netting far beyond where it reaches now in every ballpark? The answer is no, we don't. It seems that when an accident happens, the first knee-jerk reaction is to run out and try to fix whatever happened by any means necessary so it never happens again.
The reality is that baseballs, and sometimes even broken bats, do go flying into the stands. It's part of the game. It happens. It's a sporting event where things happen quickly and foul balls that are hit into the stands are part of that. You never want to see any fan hurt at a game but in reality, the number of people who do get injured while watching the game isn't high enough to require MLB or any league to re-evaluate how they can protect their fans from harm.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that the league will continue to evaluate safety regulations but there is still no timetable to require all 30 teams to have protective netting at their stadiums.
The biggest way fans may be able to help themselves? Pay attention to the game as it is going on. I attend games all the time and I commonly notice fans talking to each other nonstop or on their phone, not paying one bit of attention to the game that's going on right in front of them. There's a reason on many ticket stubs there is a warning about being aware of your surroundings while the game is taking place.
This is not to say that the little girl who was involved in this accident was at fault, nor were her parents to blame. It's hard to say you could do anything different when a ball goes flying off the end of a player's bat at speeds of over 100 mph. But accidents such as this are rare.
To go and extend all the netting around the ballpark is not the answer. The great part about being at a ball game, especially when you have premium seats, is being close to the action, close to the field and to the players. Real diehard fans are not going to want to be sitting behind a net down the first or third baseline. Foul balls fly up into the second and third tiers of stadiums, as well. Do we need protective netting up there? The answer is no.
The accident is truly upsetting and my thoughts and prayers go out to this girl and her family. I hope she has a very speedy recovery. But being upset over this incident shouldn't drive us to find a way to fix something that isn't broken.