While attending the Orioles game last night, I saw two fans get hit with foul balls. These were not your regular pop up foul balls, these were line drives that hit the person and deflected another 20-30 yards. Luckily both of these people were fine, but it got me thinking. Should MLB stadiums extend the foul ball netting farther than just behind home plate? I understand the excitement and enjoyment of trying to catch a foul ball, but I feel there comes a point where the safety of fans must come before that. Even players themselves have to deal with this concern as well. Orioles Shortstop Manny Machado was one of the players who hit a line drive foul ball that struck one of the fans last night. Manny spent at least a minute or two looking over to make sure the person was not injured. It is not like he meant to hit the fan with the foul ball, but he still feels that guilt because he is the one who hit the ball. I think Manny Machado would rather focus on his at bat than have to worry about hitting a fan with a foul ball.
Now obviously I am not saying that we should give every fan a helmet and strap a bunch of pillows around them. The fans understand the risk they are taking by sitting in those seats at the games. I do however think that netting could be extended further out. But how far? I am not necessarily sure, but I do think there needs to be a change. If I were a fan that got hit by a foul ball, I would definitely be more inclined to sit somewhere else or not come to another baseball game at all. You cannot expect a fan to be able to dodge a baseball that is flying at them at up to 100 miles per hour. I have only attended baseball games at Camden Yards so I cannot speak for other ballparks, but I think extending netting could help prevent some of the foul ball injuries without taking away from the experience of the game.