More Focus On MLB's Netting Issue After Another Fan Injury
Indians SS Francisco Lindor is calling for MLB teams to "extend their safety netting after he hit a young boy with a foul ball" during Royals-Indians at Progressive Field, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Lindor's ball went "just beyond the far end of the Royal's dugout on the first base side of the diamond in the sixth inning" in yesterday's game. Lindor said the boy is just 3 years old. A number of MLB teams "extended the safety netting at their ballparks at the start" of the '18 season. The Indians, after an incident involving the Astros and Cubs in May, said that they would "wait until after the season to address the issue of extending the netting" at Progressive Field. Lindor said, "I encourage every MLB team to put the nets all the way down (to the foul pole). I know it's all about the fans' experience to interact with players. I completely get that. ... But at the end of the day, we want to make sure everybody comes out of the game healthy. We've got to do something about it" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 7/22).
NO EXCUSES: ESPN’s Jeff Passan said he does not expect MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to mandate all clubs extend the safety netting, and “that’s a big problem here." Passan: "What does that tell you about Major League Baseball teams? Do they care about their fans? Do they care about safety? Do they care about the well-being of adults, of children, of anybody who goes to their ballparks?" ("Get Up," ESPN, 7/22). Passan added, "Teams need to have their fans' best interest in mind, they need to have the health of their fans in mind.” The White Sox already have installed netting to the foul poles, and Passan said, “There is a big question around baseball, ‘Why isn't Rob Manfred saying to teams go out and do this now?'" Passan: "One of the answers was you can't expect teams to do it during the season. Why the hell not? The White Sox just did." Passan added, "It is a travesty that baseball teams have not stepped up and said, ‘You, fan, you are our No. 1 priority’” (“Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio, 7/22).
NO ARGUMENTS TO BE MADE: In Akron, Ryan Lewis writes there are "absolutely zero valid arguments against netting that extends closer to the foul poles" in MLB ballparks. There are still "so many on Twitter firing back, though, even after this incident and those in Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago and so many more." But "none of those arguments have any traction." Many players, including Lindor, have "voiced their support of extended netting." Lewis: "This is a solvable problem and something that needs to be a league-wide mandate. The time for this hasn't just come, it's probably already passed" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 7/22).