Major League Baseball franchise the New York Yankees have announced that it will increase its use of netting to protect fans after a young girl was struck by a ball at Yankee Stadium.
Only 11 days after the one-year-old girl was injured at the Yankees’ game against the Minnesota Twins, the team has revealed plans to increase protective netting around the ballpark and its spring training complex for next year.
Following the incident, the Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies also announced plans to increase netting coverage in front of stands.
The Yankees made the announcement during the last game of the regular season on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Statement from the Yankees regarding netting expansion. pic.twitter.com/jeBt6AhIBn
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 1, 2017
The New York team’s third basemen, Todd Frazier, whose 105mph line drive off the bat hit the young girl, said, according to ESPN: “That’s (expanding netting) great. I think not only here, but every team should have it. It’s a good step forward for the Yankees, man. I’m very proud to say I’m playing for this team, and they’re going to make this change, and it’s really nice.”
In a news release, the Yankees said they will “significantly expand” the netting this offseason at Yankee Stadium and Steinbrenner Field, home of the team’s Tampa Yankees affiliate in Florida. The team said that although its current netting meets Major League Baseball recommendations, the additional netting planned for 2018 will exceed those guidelines.
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.
The Yankees did not reveal how much the netting would be expanded, but it currently reaches from the corner of each dugout closest to home plate. The statement said the club would consult “architects, engineers, netting manufacturers and Major League Baseball to analyse and determine the best and most appropriate type of netting material, colour and installation methods.” It added that it also has considered comments from fans.
“I think a lot of fans realise it, too,” Frazier said. “There’s always going to be fans who don’t and some fans who do. That’s always going to happen, but it’s the right thing to do. It really is. I think safety first.”
Image: Matt Boulton