Baseball Safety

I have been in love with baseball for nearly as long as I have been in love with reading. I will sit through games that make others run shrieking from the television, declaring they have no time for watching paint dry. I honestly can’t understand how they can so completely miss the entire point of baseball, but hey – to each his/her own.

Many people have asked, given my love of the game, why my kids were not raised in family-friendly minor league ballparks. The simple answer – too many wild foul balls into the stands. To me, baseball is an elegant meditation. It’s no fun if I’m worrying that we’re going to get smashed in the face.

The current horrible baseball news is of the little girl who was hit with a 100+ mph foul ball as she sat in excellent seats with her family around her. There is already the crowd saying that it’s their right to have an unobstructed view of the field. To them I say, let me get you a lawn chair. You can sit on top of the dugout for free while the rest of us sit behind some netting.

I say this because the simple fact of the matter is that that ball hit that kid in one second or less. Yess. Say it with me. “Crack! One alligator.” It is achingly clear from the available video that the people in the seats never saw that ball coming. In fact, they didn’t know anything had happened until it had already happened, as you can tell by their reactions upon realization.

The batter himself said that most people have never seen a baseball moving that fast directly toward them – let alone tried to react for his/herself, let alone for someone else.

I hope MLB decides to do something to provide protection to those sitting close to the field. It’s NOT the case that this has been a problem forever – the newer stadiums provide closer access. This is the case that a new phenomenon has caused unexpected – being generous here – consequences.

I know it’s a lot to hope, but I hope common sense rules the day. People still pay to go to hockey games – even with the plexi-shields around the rink. They will still pay to attend baseball games – even with netting that provides a slightly obstructed view of balls zooming toward their skulls at speeds of more than 100 mph.

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