Yesterday I spoke about how the Yankees need do the right thing in the face of safety at Yankee Stadium. After a child was hit in the face with a ball during Wednesday’s game, it brought out another round of calls for protective netting to be put up down the baselines at Yankee Stadium. It’s hard to say how seriously the Yankees are taking this issue, but that doesn’t mean good things haven’t come out of it.
Since the incident, the Mariners, Reds, and Padres have all said they plan to put up more safety netting. They would join 10 other teams to install the netting in their home ballpark, making it 13 teams overall. That’s just under half of MLB.
While the league continues to struggle with declaring a mandated inclusion of safety netting at all their ballparks, New York City is stepping in. Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr., who represents the 37th Council District in Brooklyn and serves as chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs, has demanded action.
Espinal introduced a bill to the City Council back in May around the time of a similar incident. This bill would require that any baseball stadium with at least 5,000 seats within the city would be required to have netting from home plate to the foul pole. A hearing for Espinal’s bill will take place on October 25.
The councilman says that he has had positive conversations with the Yankees this summer. It’s also worth noting that the Mets installed additional netting for the second half of the year following the announcement of the bill.
The Yankees, meanwhile, for what it’s worth, did notify their season-ticket holders last month that there was a possibility additional netting would be installed prior to the 2018 season. As the New York Post reported, the plan would be to extend the netting all the way to the dugouts. The organization has discussed the matter with the proper parties in order to get a sense of how feasible this installation would be.
Yesterday I may have chastised the Yankees for not being fast enough to act, but everyone knows the process doesn’t happen over night. The real problem is the organization has been very noncommittal about the whole thing and have really said very little about the incident at all. Maybe the Yankees are simply waiting for the right time to speak (although now would be perfect), or maybe they’re just hoping this all gets swept under the rug in a few weeks, like it has before. If that’s the case, it’s clear that the matter is being handled elsewhere.
Even with the league being slow to act, organizations are taking note and doing the right thing. It’s time for the Yankees to follow suit. Other teams have reacted to an incident that happened in someone else’s ballpark, which is kind of embarrassing for the Yankees, if we’re being honest. If this organization won’t make a commitment, maybe Espinal’s bill will come through and make them. We’ll know in just over a month’s time.