Calls Grow Louder For Extended Netting At Yankee Stadium After Foul Ball Strikes Toddler In Face

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Calls for additional protective netting at Yankee Stadium are coming from the players themselves after a hard-hit, line-drive foul ball struck a little girl in the face Wednesday.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, the little girl remained under observation NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in Washington Heights Thursday afternoon. Family members came to the hospital to visit her after her frightening injury at Yankee Stadium put safety requirements across the country under the microscope.

“In my prayers, in my prayers,” one woman said.

It was heart-stopping for everyone in the stadium.

Players were on the field praying, tears welling in some of their eyes. Fans rushed to help the injured toddler sitting along the third-base line at the Yankees-Twins game.

girl hit by foul ball at Yankee Stadium

A man carries out a young girl who was hit in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 20, 2017. (credit: CBS2)

The foul ball shot off the bat of Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier at 105 mph, hitting the little girl with curly blonde hair. Her face was covered by a man rushing to get her help.

Stunned family cradled the girl as nearby spectators rushed in.

Fans and players alike were stunned.

“We were just really concerned for a child,” said Samantha Watts, a Yankees fan.

After four minutes, play continued. But Frazier was still shaken in the locker room after the game.

“I thought of my kids, you know?” Frazier said. “I have two kids under 3 years old, and I just hope she’s all right.”

The issue now is safety. It was the second time this year a child sitting along the base line was injured. In May, a boy was hit by piece of a shattered bat.

Yankee Stadium only has protective netting between the dugouts behind home plate.

Over at Citi Field, the Mets extended their protective netting earlier this year to stretch down the first- and third-base lines all the way to the middle of the outfield.

Minnesota Twins player Brian Dozier got emotional about the issue after the game.

“I don’t care about the damn view of the fan or what. It’s all about safety,” he said. “I still have a knot in my stomach. I don’t know if you guys saw it, but we need nets, or don’t put kids down there.”

Major League Baseball does not even mandate protective netting behind home plate. About one-third of teams have extended netting.

The Yankees say they are “seriously exploring” the idea of extending their netting for the 2018 season.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be centered around our young fan and her family,” the Yankees said in a statement late Thursday afternoon. “We remain in direct contact with her family and the hospital, and we will provide any and all assistance that will be necessary.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday he will “redouble” efforts to have teams install additional netting.

“The events at yesterday’s game involving a young girl were extremely upsetting for everyone in our game,” Manfred told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. “Over the past few seasons MLB has worked with our clubs to expand the amount of netting in our ballparks. In light of yesterday’s event, we will redouble our efforts on this important issue.”

Miami attorney Jack Herskowitz, author of “Danger at the Ballpark,” said that, under the 1913 “baseball rule,” organizations are protected from liability despite frequent accidents.

“There are more fans injured in the stands than there are batters hit in the batter’s box in a given year,” said Herskowitz, a professor at Miami Dade College.

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