Two-Year-Old Girl Hit By Foul Ball
During a game between the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 29th of this year, Albert Almora Jr. hit a foul ball into the stands just past the protective netting, hitting a two year old girl in the head. At the time, the family of the girl requested privacy, telling no information to the public about her condition.
The girl is alive but is dealing with a multitude of issues. She suffered a skull fracture and had a seizure, subdural bleeding, brain contusions, brain edema, and an abnormal electroencephalogram. She is on medication to prevent further seizures. (ESPN)
Commissioner Rob Manfred was quoted as saying that there can’t be in-season changes due to structural issues at each ballpark. (NYTimes) What about the structural issues that girl and family have to face for the rest of their lives in the name of tradition?
Since 1913, the “Baseball Rule” on every ticket to a major league game has included a disclaimer saying the holder of the ticket assumes all the risks inherent to the game. It’s not 1913 anymore. It’s 2019, and MLB needs to realize this fact.
Until the 1990s we were allowed to smoke on the plane in-flight while reading newspapers. Someone with common sense thought, “Lighting a fire 30,000 feet up in the air is not smart.” It is one of the dumbest things humans have allowed to date. Knowing this was a bad idea, we evolved.
The ball is in your “park,” MLB. What are you doing to do?
The idea of having extending netting down the foul lines was introduced to Commissioner Manfred in 2017. He also said the league could not unilaterally implement changes due to design variances of 30 different ballparks. (USA Today)
Each ballpark must have protective netting extending to the far ends of each dugout. This is as far as the netting reaches at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Unfortunately, the girl was sitting about 10 feet from the end of the netting.
In the past week, the Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, and Los Angeles Dodgers have announced plans to extend safety netting from foul pole to foul pole. The Nationals are saying they will finish the work at their ballpark over the All-Star Break next month.
The White Sox, Nationals, and Dodgers are thinking, “Fans getting hit in the head by professional baseball players isn’t great. Let’s make a change.” The entire league needs to follow suit. If they don’t, like this author has said before, MLB fans won’t be the ones catching that screaming foul ball. It’ll catch them.
And it has.
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