Imagine you’re at a baseball game and suddenly, a ball coming off the bat at 106 miles per hour hits someone squarely in the face. 106 miles per hour.
That’s what happened Wednesday afternoon when the New York Yankees hosted the Minnesota Twins. In the immediate aftermath, some players hunched over in concern. Some shed tears. Others prayed. Nobody cared about the baseball game anymore; it was all about the little girl and her safety. Her well-being.
And rightfully so.
After the game, Brian Dozier and Todd Fraziera��the latter of whom hit the baseballa��called for expanded netting, as Tim Brown from Yahoo Sports reports:
a�?Every stadium needs to have nets,a�? Dozier said. Continuing, a�?That’s it. I don’t care about the damn view of the fan. It’s all about safety. I still have a knot in my stomach. I hope that kid’s OK. We need nets. Or don’t put kids down there.a�?
You can almost bet that last part won’t happen, by the way. More on the fans later, though. Frazier would add:
a�?Yeah, I think the netting should be up. I think every stadium should have it. But we’re not at that point yet. Hopefully they’ll take a look at all this and figure something out.a�?
It should have never gotten to this point, but hopefully this is what it takes for MLB to actually do something. Now I know what you’re thinkinga��trust me, I saw plenty of it yesterday following all of this…
‘Why isn’t the kid paying attention? Why aren’t the parents paying attention?’
My retort, as you look up from your cheese-covered french fries to take a sip of beer, eyes fixated on the concessions in front of you, is as follows. Let’s say you pay attention to every single pitch of every baseball game you attend (which, let’s be honest here, most fans don’t). But even if one was prepared, even if the parent and child were watching Todd Frazier’s every move before he struck that baseball, it’s still coming at you at 106 miles per hour. And, it doesn’t have far to travel.
Are you prepared for that? Are any of us prepared for that? ‘Bring a glove!’ you shout, as you look away once again to pay the vendor for another ice cold beverage.
Sure, catching flyballs is feasible. Heck, the possibility of catching a toss from a player after their mid-inning warm-up is a wonderful thought altogether. Yet it’s nothing compared to a baseball coming at you at 106 miles per hour from very a close distance. You’re not prepared for that. You can’t be. There’s a reason you’re in the stands and not out on the field. Attending a baseball game should never become a life or death situation. That’s ridiculous.
‘But more netting will obstruct my site and it won’t be as enjoyable as it was before!’
You’re turned around now, this time trying to start a chant or a wave or whatever it is you do at a baseball game. Point is that for the time being, you are not watching the field. Plenty of fans do this all the damn time. Very few are watching every single second of every single game. And even those few aren’t watching every single second. How could one be expected to?
But let’s take a step back here, okay? Let’s run with this absurd premise that netting actually hinders one’s experience at a baseball game. Just because, let’s look into what tickets cost on newyork.yankees.mlb.com for next weekend’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays:
Field MVP Level a�� As of this writing, prices range anywhere from $185-$301.
Unless you’re getting a Premium Seat Experience, there is no ticket more expensive than those mentioned just above. And spoiler alert: they’re behind home plate.
But okay, okaya��I know what you’re thinking: ‘Those are New York prices.’ So since we’re here, let’s check ticket prices for the Minnesota Twins-Detroit Tigers matchup next Friday night:
Home Plate Box a�� As of this writing, an individual ticket to sit behind home plate is $54 (excluding fees). Only the Dugout Box ($71) is more expensive (there’s netting there too). But if you want to be 50 feet from home plate, that’s going to cost you. A lot. Said experiencea��the Thomson Reuters Champions Cluba��is sold out, by the way.
Finally, just for fun, we’re going to look at ticket prices for the Milwaukee Brewers-Cincinnati Reds ballgame at Miller Park next Tuesday night:
The Field Diamond Box is the most expensive ticket you can purchasea��suites asidea��at $100 a pop as of this moment. The Field Infield Box pulls in as runner-up, currently priced at $56 per seat (excluding fees, of course). And spoiler alert, again: there’s netting in front of these seats.
The overarching theme here, the obvious patterna��whatever you wish to call ita��is this: the closer you are to home plate, the more money you will spend on tickets. The more time you spend in seats closer to the field, the more you will spend on tickets. Most of those seats happen to have netting. This isn’t new. This isn’t some grand revelation. Quite often, these are the most expensive seats in the house. Do people routinely sitting behind home plate constantly complain about the netting in front of them? If they did, wouldn’t they stop purchasing them? Someone would snatch them up anyway. Sitting behind home plate can be an extraordinary experience.
So can sitting close enough to the field in which you and your child can genuinely see and enjoy most of the action, I would imagine. Sometimes you don’t want to purchase a couple of bleacher seats the night before for only $15 apiece or so just so you can go to the stadium for a day with your kid. Sometimes, you want to see all the MLB action up close. In most instances, sitting closer is almost undoubtedly more enjoyable. There’s a reason it’s more expensive.
Sitting closer also carries with it significant risks. These risks, however, can be mitigated if MLB forces teams to extend their netting well past the base lines. It doesn’t have to go much highera��if any higher, for that matter, than the field level. Regardless, what’s the problem? For you, the viewer, maybe you’re annoyed for a week or two before that worry fades away into the compartment of your mind that stores countless things that aren’t worth getting worked up about.
But the worst-case scenario for everyone? A child or adult gets struck by a ball and doesn’t wake up.
Let’s hope MLB doesn’t let it come to that.