Baseballs traveling into the stands at 100 m.p.h. don’t care if you’re paying attention to the action on the field. They don’t care if you have the concentration powers of a stalking lion.
They know that you are civilians, that most of you aren’t wearing mitts or helmets and that almost all of you lack the reflexes necessary to stop a screaming line drive. They seem especially fond of women and children.
Emergency personnel had to carry a woman off on a stretcher at Wrigley Field on Sunday after a foul ball struck her. The team said she was conscious, which is something of a victory. Afterward, Cubs manager Joe Maddon called the incident “awful’’ and said fans need to pay better attention to the game. That’s what Major League Baseball has been saying for years, and it’s bogus. People continue to get hurt by line drives, especially behind the dugouts, no matter how often they’re warned.
I’ll keep saying this until I’m Cub blue in the face: Extend the protective netting from behind home plate to the first- and third-base lines at all parks before somebody gets killed. MLB seems more concerned about people staying home because of the nets than it is about people getting hurt without them. You won’t hear broadcasters call for a change because they work for the teams. Often, the TV cameras don’t even show emergency workers administering to injured fans. Not good for the game, and all that.
People who let their children sit with them behind the dugouts are insane. Those areas are war zones. The players know it. A line drive hit a woman in Detroit on Friday night, leading Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander to plead for more netting.
“It seems like something happens once a game, where a ball just misses a fan and, inevitably, it’s always small kids or women, you know,” Verlander said. “It’s just something that needs to be looked at, and hopefully it doesn’t get to the point where something really serious happens before there’s an adjustment made.”
MLB says it is looking at several safety issues at its ballparks. Why don’t I believe it?