After a 4-year-old girl was hit by a foul ball in New York, baseball fans across the country have concerns about their safety at ballparks.
"Obviously, I'm a parent," said Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger. "I'm a fan. It's tough to watch and it's scary. The last thing you want to do is see a kid get injured."
They could face a similar scenario at Miller Park. With the Cubs in town for a four game series, the stadium is expected to be packed.
Now, the Brewers added an extended protective netting behind home plate at the end of last season. However, the extension would not have stopped a similar incident from happening. So in the off-season, as they do every year, Schlesinger says they will re-evaluate any issues of fan safety.
"Fan comfort and safety is priority number one here," Schlesinger said. "At the end of the day, we want everyone to feel safe and comfortable and enjoy what's going on in the field."
Schlesinger says the idea of extending the netting will be talked about. They will take into account different factors and will discuss both in house and with Major League Baseball.
It's an issue close to the Brewers organization. In 2014 and 2015, two women were hit by foul balls, requiring medical treatment. Even though there are signs telling fans to stay alert, Schlesinger says there are plenty of distractions but it's important to keep your head in the game.
"You think your reaction time is good, but you may be sitting next to someone whose reaction time isn't as good," Schlesinger said. "You want to protect your loved ones and focus. You can talk to people but you can talk while looking at the field."
Mike Sperling, a Milwaukee attorney who represents the two women hit by foul balls in 2014 and 2015 released the following statement after Wednesday's incident at Yankee Stadium.
I represent two women who were very seriously injured by foul balls at Miller Park in 2014 and 2015. The events of yesterday, in which a toddler was struck by a foul ball hit off the bat of a Yankee player who estimated it was traveling at 120 miles per hour and hooking, brings to the fore the issue of fans being protected from serious injuries from foul balls. A Bloomberg study in 2014 found that over 1,700 individuals that year were injured from foul balls at major league games, approximately an average of 50 people per team per year. A Brewers’ representative has estimated that fans are injured from foul balls every three games. Due to the high speed of balls coming into the stands often at approximately 100 miles per hour, which gives the fans about a half a second to react, it is necessary for the Brewers and all the major league teams to extend the netting past 1st and 3rd base in the lower levels where most of the line drives are hit.
As well- known baseball player Chase Headley stated yesterday :
It’s something [the players] been complaining about for years, not having that covered. It’s scary. We’re praying for the kid and hope for the best, but there’s nothing you can do when it’s coming at you that fast. I don’t think the average person understands how fast those things are coming.