MLB baseball teams across the US are considering the increased use of netting to protect fans after a young girl was struck by a ball at Yankee Stadium.
After the incident at the New York Yankees’ game against the Minnesota Twins, the Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies have already announced a plan to increase netting coverage in front of stands.
The teams’ announcements came shortly after commissioner Rob Manfred promised that the league would redouble its efforts to increase netting at stadiums league-wide.
“The events involving a young girl were extremely upsetting for everyone in our game,” Manfred told ESPN. “Over the past few seasons MLB has worked with our clubs to expand the amount of netting in our ballparks. In light of the event, we will redouble our efforts on this important issue.”
The girl was taken to nearby New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center for treatment. Her family later said that the girl was “doing alright”.
In 2015, MLB officials issued a recommendation that every team install, maintain or extend nettings or screens in front of field-level seats between the dugouts to 70 feet within home plate.
“Major League Baseball prides itself on providing fans in our ballparks with unparalleled proximity and access to our players and the game taking place on the field,” Manfred said in a statement when the recommendation was issued. “At the same time, it is important that fans have the option to sit behind protective netting or in other areas of the ballpark where foul balls and bats are less likely to enter.”
The incident has led to widespread criticism of the MLB and its teams for failing to adequately protect fans.
Jeff Passan, an MLB columnist at Yahoo Sports, wrote: “Obscene amounts of money go toward ballpark experience and ambience and amenities, and because courts of law have upheld that the disclaimer on the back of tickets indemnifies teams from balls and bats whirring into the stands, they treat safety as if it’s of no concern. This is more than negligence. It is the witting abdication of moral responsibility. It is in every sense of the word shameful.”