Additional Safety Netting Headed to Yankee Stadium

By William Coppola

On Sunday, the NY Yankees sent out a press release regarding netting expansion. It read in part: “The New York Yankees announced today that they will expand the protective netting during the upcoming off season at both Yankee Stadium and George M. Steinbrenner Field. As previously announced, the Yankees consulted (and continue to consult) with architects, engineers, netting manufacturers and Major League Baseball to analyze and determine the best and most appropriate type of netting material, color and installation methods.”

“We have also considered comments from our great fans. While the current protective netting meets the recommended guidelines established by Major League Baseball, the additional protective netting we are planning to install for the 2018 season will exceed the current guidelines established by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.”

Wow! Thank goodness this statement came out during this pre-playoff game at Yankee Stadium today on the last day of the regular season. At least, I’ll have something to write about on a day where players seem to be going through the motions. Although the managers gave a good effort as both challenged bad calls by the umps.

But about the installation of additional netting, if fans payed attention more instead of playing on their cell phones or eating $13 steak sandwiches and trying not to spill a drop of a $12 beer, they may be able to see a ball coming at them and either catch it or duck.

It seems like everyone is using their cell phones during games these days. Major Baseball encourages fans to use the stadium’s free internet to follow the game.
Constant unnecessary noise and flashing lights all add to the distractions at a major league ballpark today. Many people are not watching the game.
And how about all those fans buying the expensive seats behind the dugout never getting a ball when the inning ends now. Maybe a net over the entire field? How about using a tee ball that has built in softness. Oh wait, that would kill the analytics and all that yammering about exit velocities and 465-foot bombs.

As far as comments from fans, my friend Brian JR texted, “I guess we won’t see another Jeter face plant into the stands anymore.”

Today I saw numerous baseballs fly into the seats, fans love it. Pay attention and stop changing the game. I understand the addition of more netting will prevent people from getting hurt and I have come to understand that the people attending games today are different than fans 20 or more years  ago.

While the necessity of providing a safe environment of all fans is understandable, can the baseball gods please leave something about this grand game that’s still somewhat familiar to us old-timers?

William Coppola is a contributing writer. He has 40 years in baseball as a player, umpire, and advanced scout.

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