Honestly didn’t think this would happen, but here we are.
Netting was a hot topic earlier this season, when a Houston girl was hit by an Albert Almora Jr. foul ball and taken to the hospital. At the time, Almora was so distraught by the incident that he broke down and had to be consoled by manager Joe Maddon and his teammates.
As a result, some teams are extending their safety netting to the foul poles at their ballparks, and the Phillies are one of those teams, according to NBC 10:
The Philadelphia Phillies plan to install safety netting along the entire length of foul territory at Citizens Bank Park by next season.
The team on Tuesday confirmed the decision following the airing of an NBC News investigation into a surge in foul ball injuries at Major League Baseball parks across the United States and Canada.
Citizens Bank Park currently has safety netting behind home plate and down through the end of either dugout — covering sections 115-132. It stands as high as 10 feet behind home plate and 8 feet in other sections.
The new netting will be in place for the 2020 season, a team rep told NBC10 Tuesday morning, and will extend from section 107 thorough section 140.
We argued a lot about this back in May.
Baseball traditionalists said that people should be “paying attention to the game” or that children “shouldn’t be sitting in those seats in the first place.” Stuff like that. “Personal responsibility” was the theme.
I honestly think you’re at risk to get drilled by a ball whether you’re paying attention or not, whether you’re 5 years old or 25 years old. With the way dudes are hitting the ball these days, you could be totally dialed in and focused and still get cranked by a foul ball before getting a chance to react. Your view could be blocked by another fan. The ball could take a deflection off a seat or concrete walkway. There are a lot of different scenarios in play here.
I saw a lot of baseball purist takes on social media, folks suggesting a solution of moving kids to different areas of the ballpark, which makes sense, but I’m not sure how realistic that is. Like I said, kids aren’t the only ones being hit. You’ve got people of all ages getting plunked, and not all of them are distracted, looking at their phone, talking to a friend, or chowing down on crab fries.
Fact of the matter is that NOBODY is sitting there for three straight hours paying attention to every single pitch of every single plate appearance. For example, here are a bunch of grown adults just casually going about their afternoon:
That’s what the ballpark is these days, a lot of nonchalant behavior, people just sort of half-paying attention, enjoying themselves, eating nachos or doing whatever. Isn’t that kind of the point anyway? It’s supposed to be a relaxing summer trip to the ballpark. Yet people get irrationally angry because the seven year old in section 135 isn’t locked in for the entirety of the game.
So for me, I’m willing to sit behind netting to sacrifice a bit of my view if that helps prevent people from getting cracked in the head by foul balls or broken bats. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but apparently a lot of baseball purists do.