Rob Manfred’s latest comments about protective netting in ballparks are dead wrong and highlight his incompetence as MLB commissioner.
On Tuesday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he did not expect teams to make changes to the protective netting in ballparks this season. This comes less than a week after a child was struck by a foul ball off the bat of Albert Almora Jr.
Check this out! It was a SCARY & JARRING moment @MinuteMaidParks last night during #Cubs–#Astros game, when a 4 YO girl was hit by a foul ball! It happened when Cub's player, Albert Almora Jr. hit a foul line drive into the stands. Fortunately, she's OK. #khou11 #htownrush pic.twitter.com/xvrxwmV5c5
— Michelle Choi (@MichelleKHOU) May 30, 2019
Reports later indicated that the child was expected to be okay, and Almora, who was inconsolable after the incident vowed to have a relationship with the little girl’s family for the rest of his life.
In this instance, the story has a happy ending. However, What’s it going to take for baseball and its commissioner to do something before it’s too late?
In addressing the doubt he has of teams extending protective netting in ballparks, Rob Manfred said,
“The reason I hesitate with ‘beyond the dugout,’ I mean, a lot of clubs are beyond the dugout already. But, there is a balance here. We do have fans that are vocal about the fact that they don’t want to sit behind nets. I think that we have struck the balance in favor of fan safety so far, and I think we will continue to do that going forward.”
By taking this stance, MLB Commissioner Manfred has once again highlighted his ineptitude as baseball’s leader and has sent the message to his constituency that the dollar supersedes the safety of baseball fans. As baseball’s supposed #1 ambassador of the game, what fans would like to have heard Manfred say is:
“fan safety is the number one priority of MLB. Because of this, we will work to assure that all MLB stadiums extend protective netting beyond the dugout by the start of the 2020 season.”
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One can understand that it might be difficult to convince 30 teams in MLB to extend netting in-season. However, in expressing such doubt and refusing to be more assertive in this issue, Manfred has sent a signal to fans that they are not his #1 priority.
Baseball will continue to price fans out of the stadium experience against their will, while at the same time not committing to extending protective netting because of the fans?
It just doesn’t make sense.
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