The call for extended netting in MLB ballparks has grown louder this week. Unfortunately, it took another fan injury for it to get people’s attention again, but this time around we’ve seen a handful of teams take action by agreeing to extend the protective netting to the end of the dugout.
Of course, with every incident and injury that results in more teams agreeing to better protect their fans, we hear from those people who are vehemently against adding more netting. These people argue that this protective measure only serves to obstruct the views of additional premium seats, while adding that the responsibility is on the fans to pay attention.
That might be true to an extent, but Miami Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler isn’t buying it completely. In a series of tweets on Friday, Ziegler told fans who were opposed to extended netting that their best option is to stay at home if they’re more concerned about their view than the well-being of others.
A note to anyone complaining about teams extending netting and not wanting to “pay for an obstructed view”: stay home. pic.twitter.com/CpbXDkjcLp
— Brad Ziegler (@BradZiegler) September 22, 2017
The point that always seems to elude the “pay better attention” crowd is that paying attention doesn’t always guarantee safety in these situations. As Ziegler and countless others have noted, sometimes there’s nothing you can do when a 105-mph line drive whistles into the stands. There’s next to no reaction time and in many cases it’s pure luck when a baseball or broken bat strikes an empty seat.
The goal should always be to eliminate chance from the equation and to do the most possible to keep fans safe. That’s what the NHL did when a young girl was struck and killed by a puck during a game 15 years ago. The NHL made it mandatory to add netting at every arena, and now it’s just an accepted part of the game.
Took the death of a girl in Columbus for the NHL to put up nets. Now it's hard to imagine that they weren't always there.
— Michael Farrell (@farrell205) September 22, 2017
Once baseball fans get used to the added netting, they too will forget the days it didn’t exist. It’s natural to be resistant to change, but protecting fans is change for the better.
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