Philly Baseball Insider wrote about the need for additional safety netting this past April.
You could tell by the look on the face of Freddy Galvis that the fact a young fan was hit in the face by a foul ball off of his bat Saturday night really shook the Phillies shortstop. The girl was taken to Children's Hospital for further evaluation and no information on her condition has been made public, but Galvis spoke loud and clear about the issue following Saturday's game.
"It's 2016 and fans keep getting hit by foul balls when you're supposed to have a net to protect the fans," Galvis told Matt Breen of Philly.com after the game. "The fans give you the money, so you should protect them, right? We're worried about speeding up the game. Why don't you put up a net and protect all the fans? They're worried about the stupid stuff. They should worry about the real stuff. That's real stuff."
Galvis has a young daughter and doesn't want the issue to go away until teams put up protective netting.
"What if I broke all her teeth. What if I broke her nose. If I hit her in one eye and she loses that. What are they going to do? They're going to forget in three days. It's going to be a big deal for two, three days. Everybody in TV, media, whatever. But after three days, what's going to happen? They're going to forget. But that family won't forget that. Do you think that little baby will forget that? It's true life. It's something you have to put before everything. Safety first. Safety," said Galvis.
Major League Baseball issued recommendations last winter about added safety netting at ballparks. The recommendations suggested protective netting anywhere within 70 feet of home plate. Kansas City, Minnesota and Washington added netting to the full recommendations of MLB and 16 other teams, including the Phillies, made minor adjustments to netting. The Phillies added 10 feet of extra netting between the screen behind home plate and the near edge of the dugouts. The MLB recommendations would take the netting to the far end of the dugout.
The Phillies have said in the past that they've received differing opinions from fans regarding added netting and that they're working on accommodating those opinions, but Galvis believes something should have been done even before now.
In the minors, increased netting hasn't been installed in just one of the ballparks that the Phillies minor league teams call home. The netting in Clearwater, the Phillies spring training home, was extended to satisfy recommendations. At Reading, the addition of dugout seats down the first base line, but the netting in front of those seats extends barely to the roof - approximately 8' - of the new seating section.
At Lehigh Valley, GM Kurt Landes told PBI in April that the added netting is something being planned for the future.
"In terms of how many there are, it's not a big issue, but just one fan being injured is a big issue to us, and to them," said Landes. "It's something that we'll look at going forward and is something that we're sort of planning for in the future."
Landes said the netting needs to be replaced routinely every five years and that they will be replacing the netting again in the relatively near future, which would include a look at adding additional netting. Landes noted that there is a lot more to adding netting than most fans would realize.
"There is actually a lot that goes into it, it's not as simple as it may seem. Then, if you change the configuration, there are engineering issues and other things that you have to do with the wiring that holds it in place to make it all work and cause the least amount of interference to fans who want to see the game," said Landes.