The New York Yankees announced the dimensions and locations of the additional protective netting starting with the 2018 MLB season. It has been a topic for several years, but the discussion has heightened since a young child was struck with a foul ball at Yankee Stadium in September.
The New York Yankees were one of several teams to announce additions of protective netting after the scary incident in September that saw a little girl hit in the face with a Todd Frazier screaming line-drive. It came on Wednesday, as they announced that the netting’s maximum height would be eight feet and stretch between sections 029 down the left field line and 011 in right field.
Despite undoubtedly protecting the fans from more freak accidents in the future, many baseball fans have had several arguments opposed to the netting. However, all of these arguments are stupid and are typically wrong or not as important as the main priority: fan safety.
Here are the arguments you probably have heard, and the reasons why they all fall short of standard logic:
1. It blocks the view of the fans
First of all, it’s a net. It is see-through.
Second of all, according to the Yankees, the net is 1.2 millimeters wide. Your eyes adjust to something so miraculously small. At that point, the net will only distract you if you let it.
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The Yankees also announced that the color of the net will be “field green” to minimize its visible impact for those in attendance and viewers watching on television. But again, the net is so small, you hardly will be even to see the color.
2. Fan-to-player interaction gets taken away
The Yankees announced that a bottom portion of the netting, up to three feet high, will be retractable before the games, that way the fans and players will be able to react to one another (not like the nets are soundproof and unable to see through, but anyway).
Whatever interactions go on during the game will not exist anymore, as that retractable opening will be shut throughout the game. But again, the exchanges that some fans and players have during the game are quite minimal.
Fans pay to watch a game, not talk to players. Players are there for work, not to chat with fans.
3. Maybe people should pay attention
Yes, everyone is on their phones, but many of these foul ball incidents have nothing to do with cellular devices.
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will be ripping foul balls unexpectedly to fans sitting 100-feet away from them at speeds of 120 miles-an-hour. The keenest eye with the best reactions would still have only a half-second to get out of the way—just about the same amount of time batters have to react to a 90 mph fastball.
And even those guys get hit by baseballs knowing the ball is coming in their direction.
Parents bring their kids to the games. They have to watch their kids, too.
A mother was ripped apart by the entire world for not watching her child when he fell into Harambe’s exhibit. Now, all of a sudden, because your chances of catching a screaming line drive are essentially zero, baseball is more important than the child? The hypocrisy is laughable.
Sure, while some incidents could have been avoided if the fans had gotten off their phones, that is certainly not the case every time.
4. I won’t be able to get a foul ball
Cry me a river. Go to batting practice in which your chances are a lot higher. Snag another seat. There are so many other alternatives.
The chance of a foul ball is not worth a possible concussion … or worse.
No one has ever complained about the nets while sitting behind home plate. No one complains in Japan, where the fans have been sitting behind nets since 1989. No one complains at hockey games behind nets.
Sitting that close to the game is not enjoyable anymore. Rather than watching the game because you want to see a home run, you’re almost watching the game because you are inside a deathtrap.
Sooner, rather than later, when you realize nets are see through and your experience at the game hardly changes (and if it does, it will be for the better because you feel safer), you will think back to just a few months ago and think how insane it really was to not protect the fans.