Astros Extending Safety Netting Down Foul Lines This Weekend
Back on May 29, Chicago Cubs, Albert Almora, Jr., was at the plate in Minute Maid Park for a Major League game with the Houston Astros.
Almora sharply fouled a ball, pulling it hard to his left and into the third base box seats beyond the netting where it careened off the skull of a two-year-old girl. Fans of all shakes, parents especially, gasped in horror. The dad immediately scooped up the child and headed up the aisle for help.
Almora, Jr is a parent and was seen on a knee immediately afterward, emotionally shaken and being comforted by Cub teammates and Astros alike. No human batter has precise control over a batted ball. It was not his fault, not the pitcher's fault, or the man selling popcorn's fault.
It happens in baseball. Without arguing about the disclaimer that's been on the back of MLB tickets for the past eighty-odd years about you, the consumer, taking responsibility for keeping tabs on the action on the field. You're actually warned about flying balls and bats. You are responsible for keeping an eye on the baseball. When you don't, accidents happen more easily.
The child suffered bleeding, edema and brain contusions but was expected to fully recover. The parents' attorney said recently the seizures are ongoing. The Astros have taken care of all medical expenses to date.
It happens in baseball.
In 2017, a boy at Yankee Stadium was hit by a portion of Chris Carter's broken bat. Later that summer, a fan was hit by an Aaron Judge foul ball moving at 105mph. In September last year, a two-year-old girl was hospitalized from a 104mph foul ball off Todd Frazier.
Now, the Astros have announced in an official release they're replacing all the field's netting with a knotless type, which is supposed to provide better viewing for fans than the current knotted netting. As well, the netting will be extended further down the foul lines, wrapping around to the foul line.
Fan experience is always a top priority for the Astros. The Astros have followed Major League Baseball’s guidelines regarding netting while providing fans with a choice as to whether they sit in areas with or without protective netting. These changes will improve the fan’s experience and increase the number of seats behind protective netting. Fans will continue to have the option to sit in areas without netting.
The Astros start a road trip in Baltimore this weekend, and the netting will be installed immediately to be in place before the next home game on August 19, when the Detroit Tigers come in.
I'll still be bringing my glove and watching each pitch, but now I'll be purchasing even cheaper seats in the lower rows of the outfield, hoping for a Bregman blast or even the upper deck, where I might catch a Yordon shot.
This netting will make it safer for fans down the lines and free them from the personal responsibility of actually paying attention to the action while making it cheaper for me to go to the games.