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New York State Lawmaker Introduces Protective Netting Bill

New York Yankees

New York State Assembly member has introduced a bill on protective netting, calling for some ballparks across the state to extend netting to both foul poles. 

Leading up to the 2018 season, numerous teams at the major and minor league levels have announced that they are extending the protective netting at their ballparks. That includes the New York Yankees, who on Wednesday unveiled plans for extended netting at Yankee Stadium that will run all the way down the line but will be partly retractable at the dugouts to allow fans and players to interact before the game.

Seeking a state mandate on the issue, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin has introduced legislation on protective netting. Her bill calls for a requirement that protective netting run from behind home plate and extend to both foul poles, and applies to all ballparks within New York state that seat at least 5,000 fans. To make her case for the legislation, Paulin cited incidents that have taken place at Yankee Stadium in recent years, including one in September in which a young girl was severely struck by a foul ball. More from The Times Union:

In her justification memo, Paulin cites two foul ball incidents at Yankee Stadium in recent years that resulted in serious injury. Notably, though netting at the stadium wraps from dugout to dugout behind home plate, it did not extend far enough to stop a line drive from striking a young girl in the face during a Yankee game last year. The girl, who is now 2, was left with multiple facial fractures.

The girl’s father told the New York Times last year that “there is a safer way. A way where a 2-year-old girl doesn’t end up in a hospital bed, a way that people don’t get hit with bats and balls, a way where people don’t leave a game on a stretcher.”

“These injuries, along with the thousands more that occur every year as a result of foul balls or flying broken bats, highlight the need to take protective measures to ensure the safety of baseball fans during America’s favorite pastime,” Paulin’s justification memo states, adding that an October Marist poll found that 76 percent of baseball fans surveyed did not believe that watching baseball through protective netting detracts from their experience.

Since the end of the 2017 season, several teams at the major league level have announced plans to extend protective netting at their ballparks. In addition to the Yankees, that includes the Detroit TigersChicago CubsCincinnati RedsSan Diego PadresBaltimore OriolesColorado RockiesSeattle MarinersCleveland IndiansMilwaukee Brewers, and Minnesota Twins.

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