By Sam Gress
After a young fan was recently struck by a screaming foul ball, many MLB teams and fans are questioning whether or not they should extend the netting that separates fans behind home plate from the action on the field.
On September 23rd at Yankees stadium, a young fan was sitting just past the dugouts on the left side of the field when Todd Frazier of the New York Yankees hit a screaming foul ball into the stands. This caused several MLB organizations to start thinking about extending the netting. Currently at many MLB stadiums, the netting only is behind home plate and does not extend past the dugouts.
Many baseball players have said that they personally feel netting should be extended in favor of the fans safety.
Twins All-Star Brian Dozier did not hold back about his feelings toward the issue in an interview with USA Today, noting “Every stadium needs to have nets. That’s it. I don’t care about the damn view of a fan or what. It’s all about safety. I still have a knot in my stomach. I don’t know if you guys saw it, but I hope the kid’s okay. We need nets.”
Several fans have complained about the MLB teams even wanting to extend the nets as well. This is typically because of the obstruction of view, they pay a lot of money to have the best view at the game.
Some fans oppose, however, saying that all of the tickets that are sold have warnings on them and there warnings around the stadium explaining the risks of foul balls. Additionally, a lot of fans feel the joy of catching a foul ball is just part of the in-game experience, and if MLB extends the nets many fans will not get to experience that.
I recently talked to CD Teacher Mr. Vogle, who attends many MLB games and sits in the same seats that are in risk of hard foul balls. When asked how he first reacted to the little girl who got struck by Todd Frazier’s foul ball. He responded, “I wasn’t surprised. I mean, when you’re sitting right behind those dugouts you’re almost as close as the pitcher is to the batter. [As] a batter if you are just a little late or early on the pitch you can hit some screamers that go flying into the stands that as a fan, you just have no reaction time and you have no protection.”
The controversy still goes on as to whether or not MLB teams should extend the netting or not. Ultimately, it comes down to one question: what’s more important, your safety or the view?