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No added protection for baseball fans

Written By: Terry Foster | August 22, 2015

Filed Under: Uncategorized

The first rule of a baseball fan is to pay attention to the game especially if you are sitting near the infield.

You watch every pitch. You watch every play.

Fans never know when the next hit will be directed at them. One fan did not pay close enough attention and was struck by a batted ball from Anthony Gose and taken to the Detroit Receiving Hospital during the Tigers 2-0 loss to the Texas Rangers Friday night. Afterwards Tiger players called for Major League Baseball to put up netting or protection for fans.

I disagree.

I love sitting close to the action. I love unobstructed views of the game behind or close to the dugout. It adds to the game. I do not want a net or piece of plastic in the way. Fans must pay attention.

I get the netting behind home plate. Balls are redirected so quickly that you don’t have time to react even if fans are paying attention. It is a necessary evil. I do not believe the protection needs to be extended down the base lines.

Pay attention.

“It’s something that needs to be addressed immediately,” Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander told reporters after the game. It almost seems like something happens once a game. I think baseball needs to make an adjustment in a hurry.”

We’ve been playing this way for more than 100 years. Yes, there are going to be near misses and fans are going to be struck by the ball. But if you are paying attention and hold your hands up serious accidents will be rare. I’ve sat in seats near home plate and I am always alert and ready to pounce if a ball comes near me or family or fans near me.

Keep things the way they are.

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7 Responses to “No added protection for baseball fans”

  1. Donald Says:

    Pay attention… Seems easy enough. Pay attention to what? The game, the enormous scoreboard video screen of kissing couples, the music, the hot dog/peanut/lemonade/BEER vendors. Should I pay attention to my son and daughter experiencing the game for the first time? My phone just rang. Excuse me sir I need to get by to take a pee break… I’ll be by in a quick second. A good friend of mine had his young daughter rushed to Detroit receiving a few years ago when she was injured at a game… He’s an attentive father who wasn’t able to stop the flying chunk of bat from hitting her. Pay attention is a great “idea” but there are many variables that play into that. The experience should be fun and safe. Some extra netting would make it safer.


  2. FoulBallz Says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Am working on a piece that will demonstrate that paying attention will give you the best chance to avoid injuries. I’ve written the MLB Commish and General Counsel twice about two improvements that would help limit these instances (I also wrote about them on FoulBallz.com), but haven’t heard from MLB yet…nearly a month later. Accidents are going to happen, and there are plenty of warnings around the parks. I recommend everyone start keeping score so they have to pay attention to every pitch.

    Great piece!


    • Terry Foster Says:

      I look forward to looking at your piece. This got a lot of reaction. I am surprised. If I had brought this up five years ago people would simply read and move on. There is a groundswell of people wanting change. I hope it does not happen.


  3. Taylor Phillips Says:

    I’d love to see you sit right behind that dugout and take one in the head, even though you pay full close attention. Then we’ll all see how you feel thereafter.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      I have sat behind the dugout and never got hit. My former boss Jimmy Butsicaris had seats in the front row behind the Tigers dugout for about 25 years — maybe longer. He never got hit although he had the sting of a few foul balls off his hand.


  4. Kyle Says:

    Terry I have to disagree with you here. I was at the game and saw this live, it was a missile the second it left Gose’s bat, it wouldn’t have mattered if they were 100% zoned in on the pitch in this instance, it was going to be dangerous with much less than 1 second to react. I wouldn’t mind some more netting added, but they do not need to go overboard and completely line the baselines with it.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      Thank you for your observation Kyle. If you saw it live you quite naturally might have a different reaction. I understand that. I know baseball has gone without it for many years. This is a new age in sports and litigation. So we will probably see a change at some point. I just love the unspoiled look of the game.


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