So far in the 2016 season, there have been countless incidents where fans have sustained serious injuries, many of which required immediate medical attention. Though fan safety has always been stressed as a top priority for the MLB and its teams, many are beginning to question whether or not enough is being done to prevent further accidents.
Back in April, during a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago White Sox, in the seventh inning, Rays outfielder, Steven Souza hit a foul ball that was sent through a small gap in the netting between home plate and the dugout. The ball hit a woman in attendance, which then resulted in a 12 minute delay, as she was attended to by a medical assistance team and security. Before the start of the 2016 season, the Tampa Bay Rays were among several teams that installed additional netting to shield fans from broken bats and foul balls, helping to increase overall fan safety during games. Unfortunately, the additional netting didn’t seem to help.
Now, of course none of these events are ever intentional, as they are completely accidental and random. In addition, most of the time, you are able to see that players and coaches are visibly upset when such accidents occur.
On Saturday, August 20, during the Philadelphia Phillies game, infielder, Freddy Galvis hit a hard line drive that shot into the stands, behind the dugout on the third base line, which then struck a young girl in the face. The crowd went completely silent, as the girl was taken to the hospital to receive immediate medical attention for her injuries. Over time, however, fans began to settle back into their seats and enjoyed the rest of the game.
After the game, it was clear that Freddy Galvis was still visibly bothered by the event, as he expressed his frustrations in a lengthy statement regarding the lack fan safety at games. In his statement, Galvis stated, “[w]hat if I broke all her teeth? What if I broke her nose? If I hit her in one eye and she loses that. What are they going to do? It’s going to be a big deal for two, three days. Everybody in TV, media, whatever. But after three days what’s going to happen? They’re going to forget. But that family won’t forget that. Do you think the little baby will forget that? It’s true life. It’s something you have to put before everything. Safety first. Safety.”
Even though each time an incident like this occurs, one that is completely unintentional, it causes many to wonder why nothing has been done to fully prevent further occurrences. As for Galvis’ statement regarding the young girl’s injuries and fan safety, he really does have a good point. Adding additional netting to increase fan safety during games is not only a quick fix for the MLB and its teams, but for concerned fans as well.
Over the years, many teams and fans alike have simply stated “pay attention to the game,” as if that alone will help to prevent incidents like this from happening again. However, deep down, we all know that hardly anyone has the ability to dodge a baseball with an exit velocity exceeding 100 mph that is heading straight towards them.
As a result of this incident, the Philadelphia Phillies have stated that they will consider the proposed solution of extending the net behind home plate, all the way to the dugout, before the start of next season. However, one question then remains, who’s to say it won’t happen again before MLB finally takes the proper precautions?
Photo: Keith Allison (via: Wikimedia Commons)