This is absurdity at it’s best.
In brief, the article talks about how Terry Collins and Jay Bruce support their employers decision (shocker), and how the Yankees have balked at the idea, as even preliminary discussions have prompted Yankees fans to write in and complain.
However, one very interesting point is this little excerpt that Shannon highlights on his blog, which has my head spinning:
As significant a move as the Mets have made with the additional screens, it does not meet what City Councilman Rafael Espinal is asking for in a bill that would require both the Mets and Yankees to extend protective netting all the way to each foul pole.
Now, we should all remember that there are hundreds of bills that are proposed every year that never come to surface, but the idea of netting extending to the foul poles is so preposterous.
Even the folks that support protective netting, who say that there are little kids and the elderly that do not have a quick reaction time, I’m curious, why not sit in the 25 sections along the field level that now have netting? And, also, who’s reaction time is so slow that they can’t get out of the way of a ball that travels 330 feet?
I’ve never been in support in any additional netting, and while, sure, I feel terrible for the occasional child that isn’t paying attention in the first row, this overkill is 100% linked to the increase in distractions prevalent in modern ballparks and advances in modern technology.
Don’t get me wrong, I check my Twitter feed and email several times during a game, but when I sat in a box seat behind the dugout, I was locked in to the action when the game was being played. And, if, you do want to be casual at the game and go for the experience instead of the game (which is fine, in my opinion) that’s what outfield seats, the Excelsior and Promenade levels, and seats behind home plate are for.
Even before the netting, over 80% of the ballpark seats were safe from ballpark netting, and those 15-20% behind the dugouts were subjecting themselves, which has always been prominently displayed as a disclaimer on Mets.com when purchasing those tickets.
When I used to go to Shea Stadium as a kid in those famous orange box seats, I remember the usher telling us that we should pay attention, as the ball comes fast, and that we might have a chance to get a ball. And, you know what? I payed attention, and I loved the game of baseball from that moment on.
Last week, I sat in similar seats when the Rockies were in town, and I felt totally distanced from the game, like I wasn’t a part of the action. I could reach out and grab a ball, and while that’s not important for me, I’m sure the younger kids in attendance, who will be adult Mets fans in no time, might not have the same connection with the game as my generation did when I grew up.
So, Councilman Espinal, I understand your concerns for safety, but at some point there has to be a line. Sure, safety is paramount, but we don’t go to the game to be safe, we go to have fun, root on your team, eat ballpark fare, play games, be with the family etc. People that care about safety have options readily in place. This isn’t an airport or an automobile, this is a ballpark.