After a "screaming line drive" struck a child at a Yankees game last month, the protective netting at Yankee Stadium will be "significantly" expanded for the 2018 season. This follows growing safety concerns in recent years, and the Mets' decision to install additional netting the 2017 season, even though some fans have complained that added netting will obscure views.
At the September 20th home game against the Minnesota Twins, Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier fouled a pitch, and the ball hit a two-year-old girl in the stands. "It was terrible. I was shaken up," Frazier told NJ.com. "It's tough to watch. It's tough to be a part of, honestly. At third base, I watch every foul ball that's hit very hard. Some of them don't hit anybody. It's just really unlucky. It's tough. I thought of my kids. I have two kids under three years old. I just hope she's alright."
— Quick Stop Sports (@QuickStopSports) September 20, 2017
The team released the following statement on Sunday:
The New York Yankees announced today they will significantly expand the protective netting during the upcoming offseason at both Yankee Stadium and George M. Steinbrenner Field.
As previously announced, the Yankees consulted (and are continuing to consult) with architects, engineers, netting malfunction and Major League Baseball to analyze and determine the best ands most appropriate type of netting material, color and installation methods. We have also considered comments from our great fans.
While the current protective netting meets the recommended guidelines established by Major League Baseball, the additional protective netting we are planning to install for the 2018 season will exceed the current guidelines established by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Further information will be made available when our installation plans are finalized.
The statement was released after the NY Times released an interview with the girl's father. From the Times:
In his recollection of the episode, the father, Geoffrey Jacobson, described the horror of walking into a hospital room to find his daughter, who will turn 2 this week, connected to tubes and machines. Her eyes were swollen shut, she had multiple facial fractures — including those of her orbital bone and nose — and doctors were monitoring the bleeding on her brain, fearing that it might lead to seizures. And on her forehead, he said, was an imprint left by the stitches of the baseball that hit her.
Jacobson said this weekend that the only Yankees official who had contacted him was one from the team’s public relations office. He said the telephone call was brief and expressed support for his family. He said that he had not heard from the team’s principal owner, Hal Steinbrenner; the team’s president, Randy Levine; or [chief operating officer and general counsel Lonn] Trost.
Jacobson also told the Times that it's possible she may need facial surgery and it's unclear whether her vision will be normal. "While there are numerous medical follow-ups and some remaining medical questions to be answered, we can’t ignore how fortunate we are that our little girl is home," he said.
When he learned of the Yankees' decision to expand netting, Jacobson said, "It’s what they should have said from Day 1, but I’m happy to hear this. I hope the remaining teams follow suit, because it’s not just about the Yankees."