Houston Astros Extending Safety Nets After Crowd Injuries
The photo below lays out the changes coming to Minute Maid Park for all to see. The yellow lines in the photo represent the current netting meant to protect the fans, and the blue lines represent the additional protection fans will soon see when they visit the ballpark.
What is the reason for the change? Watch the video below:
There are video's like the one above that have been filmed in almost every ballpark during one season or another. Fans get clipped or crunched by a foul ball who choose to purchase seats along the foul line that are just out of reach of the protective netting. If you like this idea, go ahead and vote in our poll below. Now just let me climb up on my soapbox for a moment.
If you are going to visit the ballpark... and you are going to choose to purchase a seat located on the 1st or 3rd baseline that does not offer protection, you need to be able to be an active spectator of the game. In other words, act like a fan and watch the game. Will this guarantee your safety? Of course NOT. Selecting a seat in an area that could see a ball come into play brings with it just a little responsibility on the part of the fan does it not? Coming to the ballpark back in the day at least implied you came to watch your favorite players compete. Is it even the same nowadays? In our era of digital digital digital, you might miss the ballgame going on right in front of you. It's kind of funny/sad how many people I see at baseball games who are sitting in the stands watching the very game they paid to attend on their phone. YOU ARE AT THE GAME, BRO!
The other side of the coin? When a baseball jumps off a hitters bat at over 100mph, it doesn't matter how much attention you are giving to the contest. You might just get hit by a foul ball. This is why back in like 1982, everybody who ever took me to a ballgame said: "Always bring your glove". This way, if you get a foul ball screamer coming your way you had half a chance to either catch it or hide behind your glove (lol).
Now, can a small child catch a baseball off a bat at 100+mph? Probably not. Can a drunk adult catch a baseball off a bat at 100+mph? Again, probably not.
And now we have arrived at the new netting that is showing up at ballparks all over major league baseball. It's a lawsuit crazy world out there. Someone sitting in the stands who gets pegged by a foul ball (adult or child) might end up finding a lawyer who could make a case. In the interest of protecting everyone, up goes the extra netting. Plus, I think the teams just don't want to see anyone get hurt. Look how upset Albert Almora is in the video at the top of the article that his foul ball hurt a kid sitting in the stands. The extra netting makes injuries like that far less frequent.
Baseball is by far my favorite sport. Being a fan with a seat right next to the field is a special thing. As a kid, even the possibility of catching a foul ball was awesome. The netting going up in many ballparks will change the fan experience moving forward even if it's only just a little bit. Viewing the game through the netting make take a little bit of getting used to, but I think it's a change most people are willing to accept to avoid injury.