Tyler Kepner is impressed with the safety measures at Turner Field:
Turner Field is the second ballpark the Yankees have seen this season with protective netting that extends beyond the norm. Every stadium has a tall screen behind the plate to protect the fans from hard-hit foul balls. Here in Atlanta, the Braves also have a shorter screen, maybe eight feet off the ground, running in front of the seats behind the on-deck circles on either side of the plate . . . Such safety measures make sense, and should be in place at every ballpark.
Kepner cites the death of Mike Coolbaugh as a cautionary tale, and notes how quickly baseball would act if the unthinkable happened and a fan was killed by a foul ball. Such a thing is not unthinkable in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, however. That’s because a thirteen year-old girl was killed by an errant puck during a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game seven years ago. That incident led to the implementation of mandatory netting at either end of the rink in every arena. Before the incident there were all kinds of arguments against putting up such nets. Afterward, those arguments lost all currency.
The same applies to baseball. I’m sure people can construct all kinds of arguments as to why they shouldn’t extend protective netting down the lines. But in light of how big, strong, fast and, above all else, close Major League batters are to the fans these days, none of those arguments are enough to overcome the sheer logic and prudence which dictates putting up some nets.