Major League Baseball Needs to Protect The Fans
A fan hit by a broken bat at Fenway Park is expected to survive after sustaining life-threatening injuries during a game Friday night between the Oakland A's and the Boston Red Sox. Tonya Carpenter remained in serious condition in a Boston hospital. She was struck in the head by a shattered bat as she sat between home plate and the third base dugout at Fenway Park with her son and a friend. Emergency crews tended to a bloodied Carpenter and wheeled her off the field on a stretcher.
The incident makes one wonder why Major League Baseball or just baseball teams in general don’t have a protective net extending beyond the backstop to at least past first and third base?
MLB has warnings on ticket stubs and signs in all ballparks reminding fans to be alert for foul balls and flying bats, but it is not enough. I remember sitting at a Quincy Gems game a few years ago behind the dugout with no net in front of me wondering if I could dodge a baseball if it came at me this close to the field. The Gems have since placed extended netting to protect their fans. The time has come for MLB to do likewise.
The problem is compounded by the fact that many fans simply do not pay attention to the game. I even saw a fan which her back to home plate at a Gems game the other night as she was seated at a round table down the third base line. A line drive can get down there in a hurry too.
Plenty of fans at big league ballparks are struck by foul balls each season, but there has been only one fatality and that occurred in 1970 at Dodger Stadium when Manny Mota struck and killed a 14 year old boy with a line drive foul ball.
It took years of people being struck with a puck and one fatality in 2002 in Columbus, Ohio when a 13 year old girl was struck in the head before the National Hockey League finally ordered safety netting installed at each end of NHL arenas.
No one wants to see thru a net to watch a game if they don’t have to. But they don’t want to end up injured or dead either. What happened at Fenway Park Friday night should be the last time it happens. The extended net time has come.