Target Field Exceeds MLB Safety Netting Recommendations

December 06, 2017 01:54 PM

After a 2-year-old was injured by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, the debate around Major League Baseball's guidelines for safety netting has been renewed.

Click the video box above to see KSTP Sports' story on MLB's safety netting recommendations and how Target Field measures up


The ball that struck the child in New York came off Yankee hitter Todd Frazier's bat at 105 miles-per-hour. The girl was seated with her family in the sixth row of the stands.

A nearby fan said the ball hit the girl in the mouth.

RELATED: Young Girl Hit by Foul, Yanks Top Twins

Play was halted several minutes while the child was cared for and eventually carried from the seats.

WABC in New York reported Thursday the injured girl stayed in the hospital overnight for observation, but is expected to be OK.

"She's doing alright, just keep her in your thoughts," the victim's father told WABC.

TV broadcasts of Wednesday's game showed emotional shots of both Yankees and Twins players overcome with emotion during the delay after the incident.

Following the game, several players - notably Twins second baseman Brian Dozier - made impassioned pleas for Major League Baseball to make safety netting mandatory at ballparks.

"Every stadium needs to have nets... that's it," Dozier told the St. Paul Pioneer Press following Wednesday's game. "I still have a knot in my stomach. I hope the kid's OK."

Major League Baseball does not require teams to hang safety nets.  In 2015, MLB recommended teams protect any seats within 70 feet of home plate, and that netting should extend to at least the home plate side of each dugout.

At Target Field, the Twins go well beyond the MLB recommendation - running seven-foot-high netting down the entire length of both dugouts.

"We looked at our seats in the front rows behind the dugouts and at the direction of our ownership, we decided to look into protecting additional areas in the ballpark," says Twins VP of Operations Matt Hoy.

The Target Field nets offer straight-line protection for every seat in the lowest section of the stands behind the dugout.

The Twins, Royals and Nationals were the only three teams that immediately exceeded the MLB recommendations. Seven more teams have since extended safety netting down the first and third base lines.  Yankee Stadium is not among them.

According to Hoy, seats at Target Field are closer to the playing field than at any other MLB stadium. That was a major factor in the decision to extend the nets down the foul lines.

Signs posted throughout the lowest sections of seats at Target Field warn: "Beware of objects leaving the playing field". Hoy pointed out injuries can still happen, no matter how high or long protective nets are.

"I've remembered looking down at people with toddlers in their laps in the front row and not paying attention," Hoy says. "This is certainly a reminder to pay attention to every pitch." 


Chris Long

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