A fan suffered life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a broken bat shard during a game between the Athletics and Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday night. In the aftermath, there has been increasing demand for additional protective netting that would extend beyond where it is now, behind home plate and slightly to each side.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that players have requested additional protective netting when negotiating the collective bargaining agreement the last two times in 2007 and 2012, but were rebuffed by the owners. The request called for the netting to extend down the foul lines, even to the foul pole.
Players union representative Brad Ziegler, a reliever for the Diamondbacks, commented:
“Some owners are afraid to upset the fans that pay some of the highest ticket prices, when in reality, it’s an effort to protect those very fans,” said Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler, a member of the negotiating committee for the players’ union.
“(The owners) seem afraid that fans will lose access to the players – autographs, getting baseballs, etc. — and that will cause those ticket holders to be unhappy. Or, that they’d have to watch the game through a net. (But) fans behind home plate pay the highest prices, have the same issues, and yet those seats are always full.”
Unfortunately, the injury suffered by the fan at Fenway Park on Friday may be the impetus needed to seriously tackle the issue of fan safety.