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New York Yankees announce plans for expanded netting protection for fans following incident

By
Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
New York Yankees Todd Frazier reacts after making an error in the 3rd inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in New York City on August 12, 2017. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Yankees Todd Frazier reacts after making an error in the 3rd inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in New York City on August 12, 2017. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees announced during Sunday's regular-season finale that they will significantly expand protective netting at Yankee Stadium next season and their spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.

The Yankees did not reveal specific plans but in a statement issued to the media and read by public address announcer Paul Olden after the bottom of the third inning, the Yankees said:

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"While the current protective netting meets the recommended guidelines established by Major League Baseball, the additional protective netting we are planning to install for the 2018 season will exceed the current guidelines established by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball."

The announcement was made 11 days after a young girl was struck by a line drive from New York third baseman Todd Frazier during the fifth inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins.

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Frazier sent a foul ball clocked at 106 mph into the lower level seats on the third base side of Yankee Stadium just past the visiting dugout.

The girl was hit in the face and taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital directly across the Harlem River in Upper Manhattan.

The incident stopped the game for four minutes as Frazier knelt outside the batter's box while New York's Matt Holliday and Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier prayed while fans and other players looked on in silence.

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After the game, players from both sides urged it to be required at all stadiums.

"It's all up to the owners," Dozier said. "I don't want to get ahead of myself and say the wrong thing but we're definitely trying to get everybody to do it. I know we implemented it, Target Field being the closest to home plate. We put up a little rule that a certain amount of distance you got to have one. But I say put them all the way down, all the way down."

"I feel like we need to get the net," New York pitcher CC Sabathia said. "I think every ballpark should have it. "

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A day later, the Yankees did not announce plans for expanded netting while the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners announced plans for more protection for fans from foul balls.

After the All-Star break, Citi Field unveiled protective netting for New York Mets home games and in May city councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a bill requiring stadiums with at least 5,000 seats to have protective netting from home plate to the foul pole on either side of the outfield.

After the 2015 season, commissioner Rob Manfred gave recommendations to all 30 teams for increasing protective netting, but before the incident, only 10 teams implemented those measures.

Before Frazier's foul ball hit a fan in the face, a man was hit in the head in July by a foul ball from New York rookie Aaron Judge.

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