For decades safety advocates urged the MLB to require all stadiums to add protective netting around the ballfield, and for decades those pleas were ignored.
The MLB currently does not mandate the amount of protective netting each field must have, but instead leaves it up to the individual franchises. So what’s the problem with that? When fly balls exit the field at high speeds it’s nearly impossible to move out of harm’s way.
HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” demonstrated that a ball with an exit velocity of 95 mph — the approximate speed of a hard line drive — travels 75 feet, about the distance of fans sitting behind the dugout, in just over 6/10 of a second. For some reference, a blink of an eye is 1/3 of second. –The NY Daily News
That means you could be struck with a foul ball/bat faster than you can blink. The force of the impact could easily cause serious injuries, and that is exactly what happened at Yankee stadium just weeks ago.
A 2-year-old girl was struck by a ball and suffered multiple facial fractures, bleeding on the brain and other injuries. These life-altering injuries most likely could have been avoided had there been protective netting. The young girl is one of many who have been seriously injured by foul balls.
One could speculate any number of reasons why the MLB has neglected to put systems in place to protect the fans, and why the Yankees organization failed to expand protective netting until now.
Everyday unsafe decisions are made and as a result, innocent people are seriously hurt and killed. It is crucial that we, as individuals put safety first, especially when the people and organizations we expect to prioritize safety and wellbeing fail to do so.