MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - “Every stadium needs to have nets. That's it. I don't care about the damn view of the fan or what.”
Those were the sharp, emotion-filled words of Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier at Yankee Stadium after a young girl was hit in the face by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of New York Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier.
The game was delayed for about four minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning while the girl was evaluated and then carried from the seats. The Yankees said the girl was taken to a hospital for treatment, and local reports Thursday morning suggested the girl was doing OK.
But the players on the field were clearly shaken by the incident. Frazier put his hands over his face, then dropped to a knee. After the game, he told reporters his mind went to his own children.
"I thought of my kids,” Frazier said. “I have two kids under three years old and I just hope she's all right. I know the dad or whoever it was that was with them was trying their hardest, but the ball's coming at 120 miles an hour at them and the ball's hooking. So it's like if you've never seen a ball like that, which most people in the world haven't, it's very tough."
Dozier had tears in his eyes while standing at second base. After the game he questioned why Major League Baseball hasn’t required protective netting in all 30 ballparks.
"We've been trying to get these teams to put nets up," Dozier said. "Number one, you don't bring kids down there. And number two, every stadium needs to have nets. That's it. I don't care about the damn view of the fan or what. It's all about safety. I still have a knot in my stomach."
Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar suggested kids under a certain age be prohibited from seats without protective netting.
MLB’s stance on protective netting
In December 2015, Major League Baseball issued recommendations that encouraged clubs to add protective netting to protect seats between the dugouts within 70-feet of home plate.
"It remains an ongoing discussion in the industry," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday night, before a game in Seattle. "We gave some guidelines two years ago, and what we have done since then is that we have encouraged the individual clubs to engage in a localized process, look at their own stadiums -- every stadium's different -- and to try to make a good decision about how far the netting should go in order to promote fan safety."
Minnesota went above and beyond with netting
Target Field’s lower level seats are actually located closer to home plate than any other ballpark in baseball. Because of the proximity of these seats to the batter’s box, the Twins went above and beyond by adding safety netting that runs the length of the first and third base dugouts. This netting was added before the start of the 2016 season. The Twins also implemented a communication plan to warn fans at Target Field about the dangers of foul ball and broken bats entering the stands.
MLB teams that haven’t extended netting
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Yankees
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report