While every MLB team is being scrutinized over their netting installations and potential extensions, the New York Yankees are under special pressure to make changes to Yankee Stadium as soon as possible.
The Yankees were already being scrutinized for their netting setup, as local politicians were looking to mandate the installation of extended netting at Yankee Stadium. (The Mets had already done so for the 2017 at Citi Field, escaping the public criticism.) When a young girl was struck by a foul ball earlier in the week, the public criticism intensified. From the New York Daily News:
New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr. of the 37th district, who has been a harsh critic of the Yankees in the past year for not taking action with the protective netting issue, told The Daily News that the girl’s injury Wednesday was “very sad and disheartening.”
Espinal had introduced a bill in May that would require stadiums of 5,000 or more seats to have protective netting from home plate to the foul pole on either side of the outfield.
“I would never have wanted to see something like what happened yesterday ever happen. I think it could have been avoidable, if only netting had been put in place before yesterday’s game. But this is the reality and I hope this is a moment where the Yankees do some reflecting and finally move forward with putting it in to protect their fans,” said Espinal. “Coincidentally I decided a few days ago to move forward with holding a hearing on my bill. We scheduled it for Oct. 25 (at City Hall).
“My hope was that the teams would take this issue upon themselves without needing any legislative action. But it’s becoming more obvious that we need to move forward and the government has to step in and be expedient on this issue.”
Of course, this bring New York City, there’s a little grandstanding on the issue. Right now 10 MLB teams have installed extended netting, with three more announced for 2018 (and probably one more; the Rockies announced they were studying the issue). MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has spoken of teams committing themselves to a game plan this offseason, and the sooner the Yankees can announce a plan, the better it will be for all.
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