Oakland, Calif. (KTVU) - New York Yankee’s Todd Frazier hits a baseball with an average exit velocity of 87.6 MPH. He’s reached as high as 109.8. On Wednesday, he sent a line drive fastball into the stands that connected with the face of a two-year-old.
The scene was horrific. It stopped the game for a few minutes and looks of terror were painted on the faces of concerned players. Frazier himself took a knee and rested on his bat. The child’s condition has not been updated.
And Frazier is ranked 109, according to MLB Statcast, meaning the ball leaves the bat of 108 players even faster than his.
Between the 2015 and 2016 season, MLB officials recommended that all 30 teams extend their safety nets to the start of the dugout to protect fans from bats and balls that may enter the stands. Every team complied. But only a third of the teams decided to take the nets even further to better enhance protection.
But what’s alarming is this isn’t an infrequent occurrence. Foul balls injure 1,750 fans a year, according to Bloomberg. With a figure so staggering, and in a day where the inescapable reality is humans are very often buried in their phone, the fact that MLB officials have not mandated fully extended safety nets is quite puzzling.
The recent event caused a major uproar and the consensus for players, fans and media personnel, is it’s unjustifiably time for the MLB to extend every net to a reasonable distance that suggests fan safety as paramount. Four teams have since announced they will do their part this off season. The teams include: the Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.