The Yankees on Sunday announced plans to add additional protective netting at Yankee Stadium and George M. Steinbrenner Field at their spring training facility in Tampa, Florida. Work is expected begin at both facilities during the offseason.
The decision follows an incident Sept. 20 at the Stadium when a young female fan was struck by a line drive off the bat of Todd Frazier. The girl, whose name and age have not been disclosed, was admitted to New York-Presbyterian / Columbia Hospital and has since been released.
The Yankees revealed the plans with an in-game message on the scoreboard, which read, in part, “The Yankees consulted [and are continuing to consult] with architects, engineers, netting manufacturers and Major League Baseball to analyze and determine the best and most appropriate type of netting material, color and installation methods . . . 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.’’
“I think anything that keeps our fans safe is good,’’ Joe Girardi said. “The ball is extremely hard and sometimes reaction time isn’t good, sometime they’re blinded by the fan in front, so anything that keeps them safe, I’m all for it.’’
Frazier was happy to hear the news, saying, “Awesome, that’s great. Not only here but every team should have it.’’ Frazier hopes to meet the child and her family at some point. “With a couple of fractures, she’s probably still hurting a little bit right now,’’ he said. “She’s out of the hospital, so that’s a good sign . . . They kind of want to settle in and get back to normal life a little bit. Eventually, we’ll hook up here hopefully in the next couple of weeks.’’
Matt Holliday, who appeared teary-eyed after the girl was injured, said of the planned netting, “That’s good. I think most teams will [follow].”
Chase Headley added, “I’m glad. I think anything that makes the game a little bit safer for the fans is a good thing.”
In July, an adult male was hit in the head by a foul ball hit by Aaron Judge. The fan’s head was wrapped in bandages and his shirt was bloodied as he left under his own power. After the incident with the young girl, Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr., a Democrat from Brooklyn’s 37th district and chairman of the council’s committee on consumer affairs, told Newsday that it’s “a no-brainer’’ for the Yankees to extend the netting. Espinal said in a statement Sunday “I applaud the Yankees on stepping up to the plate and doing right by their fans.”
A spokesman for MLB said in an email, “Netting has been and will continue to be an ongoing topic of discussion.’’
With Erik Boland