NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s the hit at Yankee Stadium that brought tears to the eyes of many who saw it, including the players on the field.
A curly-haired, 1-year-old girl was struck in the face by a 105 mph line drive off the bat of Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier.
After the incident the Yankees wouldn’t comment about safety changes. Finally, 11 days later, the organization announced its plans to “significantly expand the protective netting during the upcoming offseason at both Yankee Stadium and George M. Steinbrenner field,” the team’s spring training facility in Tampa, Florida.
Ten other teams have also announced plans to add netting since the incident.
“The ball is extremely hard, and sometimes reaction time isn’t good, and sometimes you’re blinded by the fan in front,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “So anything that keeps them safe, I’m all for.”
The little girl was sitting on her grandfather’s lap in an unprotected section behind the third-base dugout.
The incident prompted calls to expand the stadium’s current netting, which only shields the area between the two dugouts behind home plate.
Many Yankees fans applauded the move.
“It’s terrible,” Lois Gordon said of what happened to the toddler. “Obviously, there’s a risk when you go to the game. But I think it is time to get the netting.”
“Certainly, it should’ve happened a while ago,” Chris Meeks told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer “Unfortunately, it took an incident like that to make them move the ball across the goal line, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Any measure “that can protect someone from that kind of damage to the body, I think in the long run is pretty good for baseball,” said Sharwan Singh.
The girl is the second child to be injured while sitting behind the baseline at Yankee Stadium this year. In May, a boy was hit by a piece of a broken bat.
Earlier this year, the Mets extended their netting in Citi Field all the way to the middle of the outfield.
Major League Baseball recommends expanded netting but doesn’t mandate it.
Yankees fan Chris Lorenzo said he doesn’t think it should be required at all stadiums.
“It’s a safety precaution, which is nice and all, but I don’t know, seems like a little bit too much,” he said.
The girl’s father made his first public statements about the incident Sunday, saying she is out of the hospital and resting at home. She’ll celebrate her 2nd birthday later this week.